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Kids these days. All they want to do is grow up to play baseball like their pops. For 14-year old, Drake LaRoche, being just like pops meant sticking by his dad’s side during the season and learning, first hand, how to be a big leaguer. Sticking by his dad’s side just happens to mean his own locker, uniform, and full-time access to the Chicago White Sox clubhouse during Spring Training and regular season.
No big deal, right?
According to White Sox Executive Vice Preside, Kenny Williams, it’s a bigger deal than one would think.
After Williams requested that LaRoche’s son, who is a third-generation ball player, be limited to clubhouse access, the 12-year veteran walked away from the game and his $13 million salary he was due for the 2016 season.
So where is the harm in having a 14-year old teenager in a Major League clubhouse? That seems to be the underlying question in all of this. Drake LaRoche, who has a very good relationship with the players and organization in Chicago, is just a young man wanting to learn the ropes of the game he loves from his big league dad.
While I, personally, don’t believe there is anything wrong with it, I feel that Adam LaRoche taking the drastic stand he has is a bit over dramatic. Williams did not ban his son from the clubhouse nor did he ask LaRoche anything more than to cut his visits back by half. What I find most disappointing about his retirement is not the money lost but the fact that he is walking away from the game he loves over a disagreement that did not need to escalate the way it did.
The LaRoche name has been around Major League Baseball for decades going back to Adam’s father, Dave LaRoche, who pitched in the league for 14 seasons from 1970-1983. Adam spent a lot of time alongside his own father in much the same way his son has after manager, Robin Ventura, gave the ok when he signed with Chicago last winter. While full access to MLB clubhouses isn’t something that happens often if ever for friends and/or family, LaRoche should be grateful for the time he’s been able to have with his son by his side, and have understood the request by Williams to limit, not eliminate, access to Drake.
It’s a shame the city of Chicago won’t get to see LaRoche for another season. It’s an even bigger shame that Major League Baseball has lost a player who, for over a decade, has shown nothing but respect and class to everyone and anyone he’s played with or come in contact with.
And for what?
A simple disagreement that could have, and should have, gone a completely different direction. Instead, 36-year old Adam LaRoche, retires from the game he loves.
And that is absolutely a shame.
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