By Dan Hiner
On March 15, Chicago White Sox’s designated hitter Adam LaRoche announced his retirement. This wasn’t much of a surprise as Adam LaRoche told the organization that he was going to retire, but that wasn’t supposed to happen until after the season.
The real story behind his departure was due to the White Sox telling Adam LaRoche that his son, Drake LaRoche, was no longer allowed in the clubhouse.
Over the weekend, his teammates and White Sox’s general manager Ken Williams decided Drake LaRoche was spending too much time in the locker room.
In response to the request, Adam LaRoche decided to end his career to spend more time with his family.
Some people have a problem with the organization keeping Drake LaRoche out of the locker room. But I don’t have a problem with it.
Professional locker rooms aren’t intended for children. Even though Drake LaRoche is 14 years old, I still wouldn’t be comfortable with a child hanging around with professional athletes all day. Between the foul language, comments and attitude of the players, I’ve felt awkward in professional clubhouses myself.
I understand why Adam LaRoche would turn down the $13 million he would have earned if he had played. To him, family is more important, and it should be for all of us. He was going to retire at the end of the year anyway to spend more time with his family.
I can’t even condemn the White Sox organization for not wanting Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse. Players were feeling uncomfortable, not because someone they didn’t know was there, but because it was a child.
In this situation, I think both parties were in the right. Both groups were looking out for the child’s welfare in their own ways.
But that doesn’t excuse the opinions of certain people that believe Adam LaRoche should have shut up and played for the money.
John McGrath is a columnist for The Olympian in Olympia, Washington. In his column on Friday, McGrath asked, “Is LaRoche a principled parent or a nitwit?”
McGrath said Adam LaRoche was being an over-bearing parent and was depriving his son the ability to form relationships with people his own age.
“Adam LaRoche wants his son to keep a safe distance from bad kids, sad kids and odd kids,” McGrath said. “LaRoche is so committed to keeping his son safe, he walked away from a job paying him $13 million to play six months of baseball.”
Sure high school helps form your personality and contributes to your development as a young adult. But saying that a father and son shouldn’t spend all the time they can together is asinine.
The constant interaction with my father formed my personality and shaped who I am today.
To say a child doesn’t want to be around his or her father seems to be coming from the perspective of a privileged life. There are many children out there that would love to spend time with fathers that are in and out of their lives.
McGrath described his father, who worked in the railroad-supply industry and spent time away from his family to support them. McGrath also said he went out to lunch with his father when he was 14 and said he would only want to have that happen once — not five times a week.
If you are judging Adam LaRoche for walking away from the money to spend time with his family, or you have a problem with Adam LaRoche’s parenting style, then you should remember that you can’t raise another person’s child.
It’s not your right to judge how a man or woman wants to spend time with their kids.
In Adam LaRoche’s case, if he didn’t have his son with him, he would see Drake LaRoche on-and-off for six months. He’s been in the MLB since 2004, and he hasn’t had his son by his side the whole time — they started spending time in the locker room five years ago when Drake LaRoche was 9.
For any parents out there, imagine if you didn’t get to see your family for half a year. You would probably want to spend as much time with them as possible.
Adam LaRoche took the highroad in this situation. If I was him, I would have told all the haters, “You damn sure can’t tell me how to raise my son!”