By Bruce Levine–
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — The suggestion that designated hitter/first baseman Adam LaRoche has retired because of a conversation he had with White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams about his son not coming in the clubhouse every day is hard for most to digest.READ MORE: 1 Killed, 4 Injured In Evanston Shooting
Late last week, Williams asked LaRoche to scale back the time that his 14-year-old son, Drake, spent in the clubhouse and at the ballpark. The suggestion apparently set the wheels in motion for the 36-year-old LaRoche to announce his retirement. On Tuesday, LaRoche talked to his White Sox teammates and told them he was walking away from the game. The conversation with Williams was based on the premise that Drake was around too often for the liking of the baseball department.
Williams made it clear to reporters Wednesday that he likes and respects Drake LaRoche, stating that this decision was for the whole of team and its focus and in no way taking anything away from Drake. The bone of contention for LaRoche appears to be predicated on an agreement that he could bring his son to the park when he wanted to. This verbal agreement was made by a gesture from this normally family-friendly franchise.
This subject has even more meaning to LaRoche, because he and his brother Andy were both allowed to be in the White Sox clubhouse from 1989-’91. They were both pre-teens when their dad, Dave, a former MLB pitcher himself, was on manger Jeff Torborg’s coaching staff. Torborg managed the team through those years. The irony was that while LaRoche was running around at old Comiskey Park with his dad and brother, Williams and current manager Robin Ventura were teammates on those 1990-’91 clubs.READ MORE: At Least 40 People Wounded, 3 Killed In Thanksgiving Weekend Shootings In Chicago
Family and religion are king in the LaRoche household. He was looked upon by current and former teammates as a stand-up guy and leader. After going through an awful 2015 season, there was question as to what he had left in the tank. He looked awful in hitting .207 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 127 games last season. The White Sox spent the offseason adding more RBI punch after last year’s team had the 28th-ranked run production out of the 30 teams.
After stepping away from this team and $13 million, LaRoche will be second guessed by many. What you don’t know is that principle and a handshake mean more to LaRoche than money or baseball. Some players will feel LaRoche let them down.
The White Sox and Williams did nothing wrong in asking LaRoche to cut back on his son’s appearances at the ballpark. The same can be said for LaRoche. He decided being with his family full time was where he belonged now.MORE NEWS: Wolfpack Junior Football Team Needs Funds To Compete For National Championship In Florida
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.