The Adam LaRoche saga has taken on a life of its own, seemingly developing endless legs as a story and heading to a much darker path than originally anticipated for the White Sox.
The premise at face value was simple enough; Executive Vice President, Kenny Williams, asked Adam LaRoche, a player in the final year of a contract and owed $13 million in 2016, to bring his kid around less. LaRoche, resented the request, decided family was more important than baseball at this juncture, and decided to retire instead of fulfilling the final year of his contract. In his mid 30’s and coming off of a poor performance, it’s understandable.
Based on that information, it was easy to come down on either side of the equation or not take a side to begin with. Most of us can’t bring our kids to work everyday but then again none of us play a game for a living. Most of us know what it’s like to have to deal with unnecessary distractions and when things aren’t going well, it makes sense to limit them. Most of us can appreciate a father wrapping up a career and wanting to spend time with family and most of us can respect someone leaving money on the table to follow their heart instead of their bank account.
Comparatively, we can understand why Drake LaRoche is home schooled seeing as his father has played for seven teams in 10 years and it would be hard for a kid, whether four-years-old or 14-years-old to fit in and adjust to school with that much moving.
So we can move past the part where we can pretend to relate to the LaRoche family because we can’t and likely never will.
Let’s look at the actual focus and how it’s blown up in Kenny Williams’ face.
But then again, clubhouses stick together, so take those words with a grain of salt.
Here’s where Williams has an issue. He is no longer the GM, Rick Hahn is. There’s a special relationship between GM and player and Williams no longer has it.
Williams is not the coach, Robin Ventura is. There’s a special relationship between coach and player and Williams never had it. The bond is so special when it’s going right, Ventura was able to convince the team to play a spring training game after it considered boycotting over the issue.
So Kenny Williams is a man without a rapport and he is now the boss who misplaced his anger due to his own poor work evaluation and took it out on the staff. It was a logical and understandable request, but executed so poorly it made the team’s best player feel betrayed and upset and it’s not even his own kid!
The difference is, in baseball, that staff can pretty easily get you fired.
Apparently, LaRoche specifically requested he get to bring his son around whenever he wanted and made sure it was in his contract and as we know, players value their rights over mostly anything or anyone.
And as we know, this took place all of last year and nobody (presumably) said a word.
Logically, if the White Sox or LaRoche were playing successfully, this would not be an issue.
Apparently, players like consistency in how they are treated.
Williams is said to have told three different stories to the players, one blaming other players, one blaming the front office and one blaming the coaching staff. Essentially, Kenny Williams has told Adam LaRoche and his teammates, Drake can’t be around the team because everybody but himself requested it even though nobody has come forward to admit to it.
Now the players don’t trust Williams, are mad at the situation and likely feel belittled and chastised because of what happened last year when they go through life trying to have a short memory.
And the team hasn’t even flown up to Chicago to start the year.
None of us will likely know what it’s like to travel around with someone’s 14-year-old and play professional baseball.
But we can all relate to the Manager who chose the wrong punishments, lost the staff’s trust and found themselves in hot water over something minor.
We can all relate to working for Kenny Williams.