Adam’s Choice

I will start by acknowledging that none of this is really any of my damn business. I generally can’t stand people commenting on other people’s parenting decisions. But somehow I am overcome by the temptation to weigh in on this semi-controversial topic and where else but my own blog can I better exercise my freedom of speech?

It is now well reported that Chicago White Sox/former Washington Nationals player Adam LaRoche has decided to retire after White Sox President Ken Williams requested that LaRoche limit the amount of time his 14-year-old son Drake spends with the team. According to reports, LaRoche’s son is in the clubhouse on a daily basis and Williams seems to find this a bit excessive.

Can I agree with Williams without sounding family-unfriendly? I have a 14-year-old son. I am sure that he would much rather be playing catch with Avisail Garcia than getting up at 6AM to get on the school bus to go learn about the Industrial Revolution. But, I think that’s where he needs to be at this time of life. Developing his own identity outside of his father. Focusing on his education. Grinding it out on his own team instead of shagging balls and cleaning the cleats of major leaguers.

Now, no one begrudges a boy time with his father or a man time with his son. I deeply and sincerely respect Adam LaRoche for putting his personal principles over money and career and for his dedication to his son. But I just can’t see how hanging around an adult workplace that much really could be the best place for a kid that age.

I asked a real 14-year-old what he thought: “Oh, man, that would be so cool.” and then, “I don’t know. Not like I am saying that school is super-fun or anything, but there are people there. People at lunch, people you call names, guys on my team, you know…”

7 thoughts on “Adam’s Choice

  1. 8u Travel March 20, 2016 / 12:05 pm

    It really comes down to what LaRoche was promised or negotiated with the White Sox and what Williams did or did not tell him. As with all situations we hear through the media, it’s hard to know where the truth lies. That said, I think the comments of Chris Sale and Todd Frazier are rather telling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maria March 20, 2016 / 6:04 pm

      Yes – The expectations were clearly there and to change them midstream creates a really awkward situation for all. I wonder if Williams didn’t understand the extent to which LaRoche’s son would be there when he said it would be OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Baseball Bloggess March 19, 2016 / 12:42 pm

    I like your interesting perspective Maria. I’ll add mine from another, unrelated angle. When I worked in a fast-paced office in Washington, DC, I was, at the time, one of a handful of single, childless folks. We often had to make time and work concessions because of parents and their kids and obligations. It was just assumed that, as the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” and that we wouldn’t mind cutting corners, or adjusting our days, or working late, because, afterall, we didn’t have kids, so what did we have to do anyway? We couldn’t say anything, because we didn’t want to sound like we didn’t like our colleagues or their children, we didn’t want to sound like jerks. So, we just did it.

    During this time, an article came out in the Washington Post headlined: “Single And Feeling Exploited” … it turned out the single folks in my office weren’t alone. Lots of single and childless workers were helping out working parents, often at the expense of our own private lives, but afraid to complain or just say “no” because they didn’t want to sound like mean people.

    I kept that article as a reminder that we all have different priorities in a work environment … and they all are important. I’m not sure if LaRoche’s teammates felt this kind of pressure, but I’d have to imagine that a child in a clubhouse 100% of the time had to be a challenge for some players. And, who’s going to go out there and say they don’t like someone’s child or the situation that has been created? But, who knows.

    They always say, what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse … and it’s always sort of uncomfortable when these stories actually do come out in public.

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    • Maria March 19, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      Thanks BB! I remember reading that article as well! A very interesting and sensitive topic. You are right that no one wants to be in the position of turning kids away. Sounds like you and I worked in the same type of DC office! I didn’t have a child at the time and I always felt kind of bad for kids sitting in a cubicle with their iPad. But now having a kid myself I realize this is just the parenting realities for working parents dealing with ridiculous work hours and commute times! I think what is particularly awkward about the LaRoche situation is that this boy has always been welcomed in major league clubhouses and now his father is put in the position of being forced to limit that time. The expectation has been created and changing it now is rather uncomfortable. Apparently, the players don’t mind, but I can imagine many situations where they might. LaRoche’s son sounds like a great kid, but imagine 20 unruly toddlers running around in there. 🙂 It is one thing to be family friendly and welcoming, and another to have a kid expecting to have his own locker and uniform. While LaRoche’s son seems to be living a dream life (what 14-year-old boy wouldn’t want to toast grape juice champagne with Bryce Harper?) I feel kind of sorry for him in that he is missing time with guys his own age. But then, I feel bad saying any of this because no one wants to begrudge a boy spending time with his father or the opportunity to enjoy this type of incredible access. Awkward all around!!!

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      • The Baseball Bloggess March 20, 2016 / 1:20 pm

        Maria, I think our initial instincts were correct. Both you and I understand — first-hand — how it’s difficult to say “no” to our parenting colleagues when they need a favor … to leave early from work, to let their child sit in the office with us, to take off a day at the last minute because snowy roads closed the schools but not our office. Who can say “no” to that without sounding mean? But, then when the requests just keep coming, sometimes every day, we realize that we’re taking on parenting duties at the expense of our own lives. (And, there will inevitably be one parent — not all parents, but just one or maybe two — who will start to expect the favors all the time.)

        And so, it comes out, via Sports Illustrated, that some White Sox players and staff felt the same pressure we did in our offices … that they weren’t comfortable with Drake LaRoche always being there, but couldn’t say anything publicly without sounding rude or mean.

        It’s a hard line to walk. But, as in all things I think, isn’t there a compromise that would work for everyone?

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        • Maria March 20, 2016 / 6:00 pm

          Yes 🙂 There has to be a happy medium somewhere…sooooo awkward!

          Like

  3. scontursi March 18, 2016 / 10:30 pm

    Classic case of overreacting by Williams. The players in both Washington and Chicago loved this kid. Plus, his parents always made sure he had three weeks of homework with him at all times. Good choice of topics…..this one got me wound up too…….

    Liked by 1 person

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