Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Adam LaRoche's Daycare Issues

I do not know who said what to whom in the Affair Of The Banished 14 Year Old on Chicago's South Side, nor do I much care. 

The short version - that aging slugger Adam LaRoche, best known for not taking his bats out of the deep freeze every year until the All Star Break and thus sinking many fantasy baseball teams run by players convinced that this was going to be the year he put it all together, retired because White Sox honcho Kenny Williams told him he couldn't have his 14 year old son Drake hanging around the clubhouse every day any more, and that several Sox players went full-on Hulk mode as a result - is about as dumb a thing as exists in professional sports. Yes, I am quite certain it must be cool as a baseball player to take your kid to work and have them experience the magic of the clubhouse, and we all have fond memories of young Ken Griffey Jr. long before his superstar years or Dusty Baker's kids doing their batboy shtick when he was managing the Giants. And yes, if the White Sox told LaRoche that he could in fact have his kid there every day and then altered the deal a la Darth Vader in the cloud city, that's a little irritating. (Not as irritating as walking away from $13M would be, as LaRoche appears to be doing, but irritating.)


Listening to the various folks in the White Sox clubhouse - most notably ace pitcher Chris Sale and outfielder and team MLBPA rep Adam Eaton - go completely bananas over this thing is equal parts cringeworthy and terrifying. When a grown man announces to the world that not having a 14 year old boy around means his organization has lost a leader, there's something deeply screwy going on.For God's sake, Eaton, you're a grown-ass man in a position of responsibility. Looking to a kid who's still two years away from thinking about prom dates for leadership makes about as much sense as asking the team mascot whether you should make the turn at first on a gapper in the alley.

Now, it may be there's something going on with this that we don't know about, that's going to make all the ranters and ravers about it look dumb. But as things stand, watching elite athletes paid millions of dollars a year willing to go to war over the fact that they don't get to hang around with a teenager any more just makes those guys look more insulated and out of touch than normal. Maybe they'd do better to focus on their putative jobs playing baseball than on their lil' buddy. Maybe they'd do better to notice that Adam LaRoche's numbers fell off a cliff last year, and not having him on the team this go-round might actually make it better. And maybe they'd do well to look around every other workplace in America, none of which condone bringing your teenaged kid to work every single day, and understand why they're maybe not winning the sympathy vote on this one.

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