Friday, March 18, 2016

White Sox Management Was Right in Asking Player to Limit His Son's Visits With Team

Outfielder Adam LaRoche  has decided to walk away from a $13 million salary this year because the White Sox organization asked him to limit the number of times his son, Drake, would accompany him to the team's clubhouse.  For the past five years, Drake now 14, has gone to work with LaRoche nearly every day. 

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:
Adam 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.

4 comments:

Susan McKee said...

Why isn't a 14 year old in school instead of the White Sox dugout?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Susan,

Excellent question. I started to include a line about that, but didn't recall the specifics in another article I read. It was to the effect that the boy has an educator type who also travels with them. So the boy is essentially home schooled. Not sure how that works as baseball players play about every day and I'm sure they're at the park as much as 8 hours, including several hours before and after the games.

Anonymous said...

He makes 13 million a year playing a game he certainly can afford child care.

Anonymous said...

Wrong again, Paul. It's about keeping your word. When he negotiated with the Sox this was brought up, and agreed to that his son would be allowed to be around. Then they didn't keep their word. Sounds like a little pip-squeak move. You should know about that. If you're word isn't good, then neither are you.