Major League Baseball first baseman Adam LaRoche is walking away from the game he loves after he was told he could no longer bring his son to the park every day.
LaRoche, 36, was set to earn $13 million this season, but abruptly announced his retirement from baseball on Tuesday, after reportedly being told by the Chicago White Sox that his son had exceeded his welcome in the clubhouse.
Fourteen-year-old Drake was a consistent presence by his father’s side last year during LaRoche’s first season with the White Sox, something the 12-year veteran arranged with Chicago manager Robin Ventura upon signing with the team.
Drake joined his dad in the locker room, at batting practice, and even joined him on team road trips, something he did when LaRoche was a member of the Washington Nationals.
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Drake appeared to be an important enough member of the club that he was given his own no. 25 White Sox jersey – the same number his father wears.
LaRoche told the Chicago Tribune that the team viewed Drake as the club’s “26th man.”
But, after a disappointing 2015 season that saw the team finish fourth in their division, with a record 10 games below .500, club execs thought players needed to refocus their approach to the game – an approach void of family distractions.
“In the off season one of the things that we talked about most was ‘let’s check all the columns’, with regards to our preparation, with regards to our focus, with regards to everything, to give ourselves the best chance to win,” White Sox executive vice-president Kenny Williams said Wednesday.
“In order to maintain consistency, in order to have an answer for the next person who comes along who wants to have his child on the field 100 per cent of the time, that’s kinda where we were,” Williams elaborated.
LaRoche’s decision to call it a career came after Williams told the slugger he would have to limit bringing his son to the stadium and into the locker room by half.
Initial reports suggested the team was going to enforce a complete expulsion of Drake, but Williams denied those rumours on Wednesday.
“I asked him initially just dial it back,” said Williams. “Even 50 per cent is probably too much.”
Williams suggested the decision had nothing to do with Drake himself, but was a matter of making changes to help the team.
“It’s not because the young man was a distraction, and not because he wasn’t well received and well-liked by players, management and everyone else,” Williams said. “He’s a quality young kid.”
The change in policy was too much for LaRoche, who spent his own childhood in baseball clubhouses with his father Dave LaRoche, who played with five clubs over 14 MLB seasons.
LaRoche was quick to react to the team’s request, announcing his decision to retire on 老域名怎么购买.
Thank u Lord for the game of baseball and for giving me way more than I ever deserved!#FamilyFirst
— Adam LaRoche (@e3laroche) March 15, 2016
“I was a little surprised by the stance he took,” said Williams. “It was unfortunate.”
Sources: LaRoche chose to retire after #WhiteSox prez Ken Williams told him that he no longer could bring 14-year-old son into clubhouse.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 16, 2016
The White Sox have stood their ground since Tuesday, saying their new approach is here to stay, but hoped LaRoche would reconsider.
“Sometimes you have to make decisions in this world that are unpopular,” Williams said.
Ken Williams just reiterated that kids are still permitted in #WhiteSox clubhouse, but not every day, saying no job would allow that.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 16, 2016
According to reports, some Chicago White Sox players pleaded for the Gold Glover to return to the team as well.
Adam LaRoche has told White Sox he plans to step away from baseball. Teammates asked him to sleep on it, but he’s confident in decision.
— Colleen Kane (@ChiTribKane) March 15, 2016
Current and former teammates reacted to LaRoche’s retirement on social media, including Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman.
So much respect. @e3laroche #FamilyFirstAlways
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) March 16, 2016
Happy for @e3laroche and Drake.. Family comes first. Proud to have played along side such a great man/father. #Family #RoleModel
— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) March 17, 2016
Good for you Roche! Nothing like father and son in the clubhouse..It’s a FAMILY game #FamilyFirst
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) March 16, 2016
Big ups to my boy @e3laroche for standing up for his beliefs. We play a GAME! Good for u brother. #FamilyFirst
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) March 16, 2016
Thank you @e3laroche for showing me what this game is really about! Grateful I got to call you my teammate #Family pic.twitter老域名购买/FvtmyqJdmK
— Aaron Barrett (@aaronbarrett30) March 16, 2016
Even athletes in other sports reached out to LaRoche, including Kyle Long, a tackle for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
If you and your boy ever want to come hang out with the @ChicagoBears let me know. I grew up in locker rooms.
— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) March 16, 2016
Others were not as supportive.
There aren’t a lot of places of business where an employee can bring his or her child to work daily. This is why day care was invented.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 17, 2016
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