Several players anonymously complained about the ubiquitous presence of Drake LaRoche in the White Sox clubhouse before team officials told Adam LaRoche to scale back his kid’s participation in team activities, USA Today reports.
Early this week LaRoche quit baseball after feeling he and his son were insulted when team management told him to put an end to the boy’s frequent visits to the club house. Several of LaRoche’s teammates are just as unhappy over the situation with some loudly saying executive vice president Kenny Williams lied to them over the incident.
But more quiet voices on the team reportedly voiced complaints to management. USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reports:
Certainly, if the White Sox wanted to scale back Drake’s presence, someone should have told LaRoche during the winter. It at least should have been addressed before spring training.
Instead, it wasn’t until Williams heard complaints, sat down with LaRoche, and told him to scale back his son’s presence in camp. He could still come to camp and be in the clubhouse, but perhaps just half the time. Certainly, not every day.
Well, after their heart-to-heart talk, nothing changed, according to multiple people in White Sox camp.
LaRoche kept bringing his son to the ballpark every day. This went on for at least three or four days. When Williams saw Drake on the field this week, in the middle of a practice drill, standing on the pitcher’s mound, he lost it.
Williams told LaRoche that was it. He violated the privilege. No more clubhouse access.
Williams later relented, and went back to his original request, simply asking LaRoche to cut his son’s clubhouse presence to about half of the time.
On Wednesday the team announced that the first baseman had decided to leave the team and forego the remaining $13 million on his contract over the mistreatment he felt he got over his son. LaRoche’s 14-year-old son, Drake, has been a fixture in the club house during the 36-year-old player’s tenure in Chicago. In fact, the teen was often seen in his own Sox uniform and he even had his own locker. Ultimately Drake had become a sort of unofficial mascot loved by many of the other players.
Williams certainly heard as much from some of LaRoche’s teammates.
Sox pitcher Chris Sale is now saying Williams has told too many conflicting stories about the conflagration. Sale was critical of Williams’ handing of the incident saying, “Somebody walked out of those doors the other day and it was the wrong guy.”
“We got bald-faced lied to by someone that we trust,” the pitcher added about Williams.
Sale went on to say the mess has derailed the team’s momentum. “There was absolutely no problem in here with anyone. [Williams] kind of created a problem,” he said.
Another player, Adam Eaton, even said that he thought LaRoche had a clause in his contract allowing the boy to hang around the team.
Player rep Adam Eaton said Adam LaRoche had clause in contract to allow son and players union now involved #whitesox
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 18, 2016
Sale added that the players stand 100 percent behind LaRoche and his son Drake and would welcome them back immediately if he decided to reverse his decision and stay with the team. But the USA Today report suggests that he feeling is not unanimous.
The situation has become explosive by some accounts. It was reported, for instance, that during a profanity-laden meeting on Wednesday the players almost organized a boycott of Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee. It took a last ditch effort by former player and current White Sox manager Robin Ventura to intervene and nix the the threatened walkout.
As it all stands right now team management is saying they are still formulating their approach to the situation and nothing is yet written in stone.
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