BY KEVIN JONES – ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
There are a select few jobs in the world where you are able to take your children to work every day. Some of these include the occupations of small business owners and family farmers. We have recently learned that Major League Baseball player is not one of these occupations.
The recent decision of White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche to retire from baseball after a twelve year career including six teams got some attention, especially after people found out what led to his retirement.
LaRoche was pressured to leave the White Sox after the team’s management told LaRoche that he could no longer bring his teenage son, Drake, to the ballpark and the clubhouse every day like he did the year before.
The team’s management would allow Drake to be brought to the clubhouse “every once and a while” but there had to be limitations.
It makes sense that when somebody spends half of the season on the road they would want to spend as much time with their children or significant others as they could when they were home. It is also understandable that baseball front offices would not want children of players in the clubhouse every day in order to prevent players from getting uncomfortable. It is the same argument some front offices use to force players to use headphones if they want to listen to music in the clubhouse.
There are some that feel that a baseball team’s clubhouse is for the private use of the team’s players. Due to this they believe that there may be things going on in a team’s clubhouse that parents might not want even their teenage children to see or hear, such as vulgar language.
Some people argue that preventing player’s children from being on the field or in the clubhouse could lower the number of player’s whose children also have major league careers. They would argue that if teams had these rules there would be not be images like a young Ken Griffey Jr. sitting next his father in the clubhouse. They would also argue that if Bobby Bonds did not have his son Barry involved in his major league career and even go as far as to name the great Willy Mays as Barry’s godfather, Barry may not have gone on to have the career that he did.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of baseball’s Home Run Derby during their All Star Weekend is seeing the players sitting on the field with their children watching the game. It would be a shame if that aspect of the game was lost.
These arguments may have some validity but the thing is that baseball team’s front offices are not trying to completely ban the children of players from the field or the clubhouse. They simply want some limitations on when or how often players can have their children on the field or in the clubhouse.
The fact is that the White Sox management did not force LaRoche to leave, he decided to retire when he was told his son could no longer be on the field and in the clubhouse every day. The team’s management said that it had nothing to do with his son’s behavior, but was about making sure all the players were comfortable in the clubhouse.