LaRoche Retirement not Selfish, but Untimely

Listening to sports talk radio this morning, callers (almost across the board) were referring to Adam LaRoche’s decision to walk away from the game because the Chicago White Sox implemented a limit on clubhouse accessibility for players’ children as selfish.

LaRoche took to Twitter to say “Thank u Lord for the game of baseball and for giving me way more than I ever deserved! #FamilyFirst,” leaving $13 million on the table.

To be clear, the White Sox are not restricting children from the clubhouse, just not on a daily basis. As team president Ken Williams noted, “You tell me, where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?”

That said, let’s get back to selfishness and miffed callers.

That LaRoche is not taking shots at the White Sox and willing to walk away from a serious payday is anything but selfish. The first baseman respects Chicago’s decision and is leaving the game at peace with his own determination.

Look, it’s not the first time (and certainly won’t be the last) that fans are jealous of an athlete’s unique position in life, positions that typically afford opportunities that the average person simply cannot afford. Like not having to work because they don’t want to spend too much time away from their children.

Resentment borne from envy.

No, LaRoche is not selfish, though it is fair to call his decision untimely. That’s not all on the 12-year veteran, however.

This is an issue which should have been resolved long before spring training began. And that’s as much on the White Sox as it is LaRoche.

That we’re about halfway through the exhibition schedule leaves LaRoche’s teammates, manager and coaches in the precarious position of replacing the left-handed hitter for the 162-schedule to come.

Granted, LaRoche’s slashline was a paltry .207 / .293 / .340 a year ago, but he had driven in at least 92 runs in three of his final five seasons.

Williams and the White Sox should have at least entertained the prospect of LaRoche choosing his family, particularly when one considers how close LaRoche clearly is with his son. Nothing trumps commitment to family, but once the calendar has reached mid-March, you also have a commitment to the Chicago White Sox.

That LaRoche indeed put his family first and wasn’t holding out for more money or playing the role of clubhouse distraction is certainly anything but selfish, but leaving the guys in the clubhouse who were counting on LaRoche high and dry is certainly poorly timed, and I would dare say ill-advised.

If callers (or anyone else) wants to insist on calling LaRoche’s decision selfish, do so because he is letting his teammates down, not because he has the luxury of wealth.

One comment

  • Hey man, good post. My question is how many people had a problem with this. I feel like we don’t have all the facts right now. It sounds like Williams was the only problem with his. However, if other player’s secretly have an issue with it that will change my opinion of the entire situation. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out and if LaRoche actually sticks to his guns. Also, you think you could check out my blog, I’d love to hear your thoughts

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