Making sense of the Adam LaRoche situation

Making sense of the Adam LaRoche situation
Former White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche unexpectedly retired on Tuesday. (Daniel Shapiro / SoxNet)

We wrote about the start of the Adam LaRoche insanity last Wednesday and now that the chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has stepped in, hopefully the situation will be cooled for now. Partially because Reinsdorf has essentially told everyone to just stop talking about it.

"Per my request, White Sox employees will no longer discuss this matter publicly. I felt it was appropriate to release this statement to close the issue for everyone in the organization – from the front office to the players in the clubhouse – so we can focus on Opening Day and winning baseball games for our fans. I am fully confident this matter will soon be behind us and that we will grow even stronger and more united as a team and as an organization."

This will hopefully end Adam Eaton's twitter tirades and Chris Sale's war path against Kenny Williams.

Based on countless reports, it sounds like this was the likely series of events.

  1. LaRoche had some type of agreement with the team that Drake LaRoche could be present in the clubhouse. During the 2015 season Drake would participate in drills, practices and even got his own locker in the clubhouse. To say the team didn't accommodate his presence would be false.
  2. Players and/or coaches felt uncomfortable with Drake being omnipresent. Rumor has it that it was a couple of coaches and some of the newer players. Adam LaRoche had told the team that if his son's presence bothered his teammates, he would address it accordingly.
  3. Players and/or coaches told Robin Ventura/Rick Hahn/Kenny Williams about how they felt on the matter. Williams had no issue being the bad guy.
  4. Williams approached LaRoche about bringing Drake to practice. LaRoche did not bring Drake any less frequently.
  5. This may or may not have happened a couple more times.
  6. During a drill, Drake was on the pitcher's mound. Infuriated, Williams told LaRoche that Drake would no longer be welcome in the clubhouse. Supposedly Williams was infuriated because the team could be liable if Drake was injured during a drill.
  7. LaRoche responded by deciding to retire. Williams cooled down and told LaRoche it only needed to be scaled back. LaRoche was adamant.
  8. A meeting occurred where Williams told players that coaches were complaining and he told coaches that players were complaining.
  9. Cue media outrage, Eaton and Sale being infuriated about losing a clubhouse leader (Eaton referred to Drake LaRoche as such) and LaRoche's retirement papers being filed with the league.
  10. Reinsdorf's gag order on the organization.

So that's what happened. Don't believe a player told Kenny about it? Well, John Perrotto got some quotes.

“Drake was out there on the field every day in spring training while we were going through drills. I had no problem with him being in the clubhouse or hanging around the dugout but I think you have to draw the line as far as on-field stuff. That is where the problem came from. That bothered some guys."

Go give Perrotto's article a full read - it's got some more good bits in there.

So that should really be the nail in the coffin - players complained. Adam LaRoche couldn't accept that some of his teammates were complaining about his son participating in on field stuff if they didn't say it to his face. Usually people don't tell someone to get rid of their kid to their face.

Anyone mad at Kenny Williams needs to remember that he was a boss trying to create a professional working atmosphere. Larry from South Side Sox broke it down pretty well. LaRoche was terrible as a member of the White Sox and Drake's presence was unfair to the other men sharing the locker room. Barry Rozner's article for the Daily Herald reinforced those points.

In the non-sports world, LaRoche wouldn't be able to bring his kid to work any day. He wouldn't be able to decide to retire at 36-years-old. Eaton and Sale wouldn't be able to attack their boss relentlessly and avoid fines, suspensions, etc.

Now the Sox, so optimistic a week ago, have to rebound in the eyes of their fans. They have to somehow put one of the most bizarre controversies behind them.

Pity whoever steps in the clubhouse as LaRoche's replacement. Brian Bilek took a look at replacements for LaRoche. Pity Drake LaRoche - no 14-year-old kid should be at the center of an asinine situation such as this. Finally, respect players like Sale and Eaton for their loyalty, other players for trying to protect LaRoche's son and finally, Adam Dunn.

Why Adam Dunn? Because despite dealing with an appendicitis, his son being incredibly ill and hundreds of thousands of boos from White Sox fans, he never blamed anyone or anything for his problems. He went out and had an All-Star campaign his second season with the Sox and finished out his contract before retiring. When things like this happen, it's nice to sit back and appreciate the guys who keep it professional.

Want to read up on the White Sox farm system and stars of tomorrow? Check out Future Sox.

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Filed under: Editorial

Tags: Adam LaRoche, Kenny Williams


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  • Assuming that Perrotto has the facts (and I assume that those hanging around Camelback Ranch can see who is on the field), that's worse than what has been conventionally reported. Drake gets beaned or hit by a line drive and at a minimum lawsuits break out.

    Other than that, there seems to be more than the usual dysfunction for a Reinsdorf organization, and maybe he should do something to put someone at the top who can clean up the culture, sort of like baseball's version of Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough. This is a more out of control clubhouse than the Ozzie going nuts business.

  • In reply to jack:

    J.R. loves loyalty first, second and third. Very little accountability until he leaves the scene and new ownership takes over in my opinion.

  • In reply to Mark Liptak:

    Could be, but this is resulting in the same chaos for both the Sox and Bulls. I'm surprised that some of his limited partners aren't exerting some pressure on him.

  • In reply to jack:

    great post

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