When Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche retired unexpectedly yesterday, everyone assumed there was something behind it. Well, it didn't take long to find out that LaRoche retired because team president Ken Williams asked him to stop bringing his son to the clubhouse so often. Of course, LaRoche gave up his salary of $13 million in the process.
Apparently LaRoche was bringing his 14-year-old on most days (I assume when he wasn't in school?), which might seem like a bit much. However, it seems his son has been a fixture in the clubhouse in past years, particularly when LaRoche played for the Washington Nationals from 2011-14. So if this is the first time we're hearing about it, there are a lot of other people out there who have not had a problem with it until now.
So first, there are the fans, many of whom are idiots, calling out LaRoche for retiring. The fact that people are posting comments on these articles calling LaRoche "selfish" and "entitled" is just amazing to me. I also wonder if these people have children of their own.
Personally, I believe it would be "selfish" to say that, no matter what you truly believe is right, you are going to do whatever you need to do to get that $13 million that you have coming to you. It's yours. You earned it, dammit, and no one is going to take that from you. Forget that LaRoche hit only .207 last year, with a miserable OBP of .293. That's his money, right?
No, guys. What LaRoche has done is the complete opposite of "selfish." It's something that many parents would never do. He decided that spending time with his son each and every day was more important than his "legacy," his statistics, his career, and of course, (literally) stacks and stacks of money.
Now, right when the story came out, I had nothing but admiration for LaRoche. I imagined that Williams was voicing concerns that he had received from the players, and with a newseason, the players wanted things to be more serious in the clubhouse. And I was totally OK with that. I could see players asking for something like that and could easily see LaRoche quietly retiring as a way of respecting his teammates' wishes while ultimately choosing his family over the money.
But that isn't even the case! This afternoon we learned the White Sox players were extremely close to boycotting today's spring training game to SUPPORT LaRoche. So it isn't even the players who are requesting this change. It's simply Ken Williams.
It's worth noting, of course, that the White Sox have drafted two of Williams's sons in recent years, in addition to sons of Harold Baines and others. But still, the players don't get to make all of the rules; Williams is the president, and he has the right to make the changes that he thinks need to be made.
But all of that aside, as a dad, I have nothing but respect for LaRoche and now for the players who are supporting him.