LaRoche was praised for putting his family first. LaRoche received support from other White Sox players who recently considered boycotting a spring training game in support of their teammate. Meanwhile White Sox management was vilified.
In an editorial in the USA Today, columnist Bob Nightengale explains why the White Sox management was right in making its very reasonable demand on LaRoche:
...[T]he White Sox also have every right to impose rules in their workplace and in this case limit visitations by the children of employees.
“Tell me where in America you can bring your child to work every day,” White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams told USA TODAY Sports. “And how can you manage it? How can you manage the next guy. And the next guy. That’s not fair.”
So Williams sat down and told LaRoche he could bring son Drake to the clubhouse and the field every now and then but it wouldn’t be like it was last year with the White Sox. He no longer could be around every day.
“I just told him that he needed to dial it back, that’s all,” Williams said. “Look, I don’t want this to turn into something that makes Drake feel badly. He is such a good kid and so loved around here. But the kid is there every day. In the clubhouse. And on the field. During drills. Everywhere.
“Simply, you have to make a decision from the management perspective or an organization at large. We went into this season saying to ourselves, ‘We are going to commit and focus and not leave any stone unturned.’”
Williams told LaRoche his son was more than welcome to hang in the clubhouse, where he has a locker, and run onto the field, where he has a uniform, just not every day.
This has nothing to do with Drake’s conduct. He’s well-mannered and respectful. LaRoche’s teammates - past and present - love to tease him. They called him their “26th Man.”
Yet with a child in the clubhouse, not every White Sox player was comfortable. You have to watch your language, which can be awfully difficult in the baseball environment. You need to refrain from talking about private escapades, or family trouble, you would never want a child to hear.Indeed. Major League locker rooms are adult places. While the White Sox and other organizations are more than gracious in allowing players to bring their children to work, they are perfectly reasonable when they ask players to limit those visits so it is not an every day affair.
LaRoche's commitment to his son is commendable. But if he is going to play major league baseball, his employer, the White Sox, has every right to ask that he limit the time his son spends with the team.