“… White Sox VP Ken Williams recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse. Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all. Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox. Upon doing so, I had to make a decision. Do I choose my teammates and my career? Or do I choose my family? The decision was easy, but in no way was it a reflection of how I feel about my teammates, manager, general manager or the club’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf. …
I understand that many people will not understand my decision. I respect that, and all I ask is for that same level of respect in return. … At every level of my career, the game of baseball has reinforced the importance of family to me. Being at my father’s side when he coached. Playing alongside my brothers as a kid and as an adult in the big leagues. Likewise, it has been great to have my son by my side to share in this experience as I played. In each and every instance, baseball has given me some of my life’s greatest memories. This was likely to be the last year of my career, and there’s no way I was going to spend it without my son.”
The controversy has given many folks the opportunity to weigh-in on the situation. Against the White Sox’ decision are Chris Sale, Bryce Harper, and other current and former teammates of Adam LaRoche. In fact, several White Sox players thought about boycotting Wednesday’s game and the MLBPA may consider filing a grievance against the White Sox on LaRoche’s behalf.
On the other hand, a few journalists have argued that the White Sox decision was not unreasonable, given that locker rooms and clubhouses are no places for children and no other workplace would allow you bring your kid to work every day, nor would you want to. Of course, one curmudgeon had to say that the kid thing was just an excuse to retire.
A few folks have simply taken a middle of the road approach. For example, Joe Maddon and various Cubs players think it should be up to the players to decide. Others tried to take a more holistic look at related policies and practices across MLB. ESPN did a brief rundown of the history of kids in the clubhouse. They also reported on Travis Shaw who, now with the Red Sox, used to spend everyday at work with with his dad Jeff Shaw, who played for the Reds and Dodgers. Yahoo! Sports also highlighted the stories of other baseball fathers who brought their kids to work. Other news outlets reported on the current kids-in-the-clubhouse practices of the Orioles, Rangers, Royals, and Red Sox.
Why has this issue struck such a chord? Perhaps its because child care and parental involvement are things that most people can identify with. Or perhaps we’re just jealous that someone can forgo such a hefty some of money.
Maybe Rolling Stone had the best perspective when they summarized the “15 Conversations the White Sox Can Finally Have Without Drake LaRoche,” including “Why K.C. Undercover is pretty good, but Best Friends Whenever is totally better.” (Gotta love the Disney reference!)