When Take Your Kid To Work Goes Too Far!

If you haven’t heard by now, Chicago White Sox player Adam LaRoche decided to retire and walk away from a guaranteed $13 million dollars because the White Sox asked him to bring his kid to work a little less.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Apparently, LaRoche, who signed with the White Sox last year and made $12.5 million liked to bring his 13-year-old son to spring training with him. He asked the White Sox if it was alright if he brought his kid to spring training, and they said yes, believing the kid would come for some batting practice once in a while and hang out in the clubhouse. Little did they know, LaRoche actually had his kid with him 100% of the time he was at the facility!

A statement from Ken Williams, the President of the White Sox:

“There has been no policy change with regards to allowance of kids in the clubhouse, on the field, the back fields during spring training. This young man that we’re talking about, Drake, everyone loves this young man. In no way do I want this to be about him.

“I asked Adam, said, ‘Listen, our focus, our interest, our desire this year is to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to focus on a daily basis on getting better. All I’m asking you to do with regard to bringing your kid to the ballpark is dial it back.’

“I don’t think he should be here 100 percent of the time – and he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse. I said that I don’t even think he should be here 50 percent of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between.”

So, the internet went crazy supporting Adam LaRoche on this with the #FamilyFirst hashtag and set the White Sox up as “evil” because they wouldn’t allow a player, that they are paying $13 million to, to have his kid at the workplace full time!

I get it, the internet is mostly stupid.

This is a family issue. Bob the electrician down at the GM plant. Guess what, he never gets to bring his kid to work, and Bob doesn’t think GM should allow him to bring his kid to work. Bob makes $50,000 a year. If Adam wanted to  spend more time with his kids, maybe he should choose a career that doesn’t put him on a the road 200 days a year.

I do have another idea, that no one is talking about.

Adam LaRoche made $12.5 Million dollars last year in his 12th MLB season. He hit .200, his worst year ever. This year the White Sox were going to have to pay him $13 million, and he’s not getting better.

Maybe Ken Williams was just doing some good old performance management! Hey, Adam, you’re sucking, maybe it’s time to leave the kid at home and start focusing on hitting the curve a little better. We are paying you way more than you’re worth at this point!  Knowing that telling him he can’t bring his kid to work, will potentially do one of two things – 1. he’ll retire and we don’t have to overpay for talent; or 2. he’ll actually get a wake-up call and start hitting. Either way, the White Sox win.

How do I know this is potentially true? Take the same scenario and use a different player, like Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, arguably the top player in baseball. If Miggy wanted to bring his son to spring training, or he would retire, what do you think the Tigers would do? If you’re performing, you get perks. Miggy’s kid would be shagging balls in the outfield, I can tell you that!

Adam LaRoche isn’t a hero from walking away from $13 million dollars to spend time with his son. He’s already made $78.5 million in the last 12 years. He and his son can both retire. Adam wasn’t performing.  He is set financially. Leaving to spend time with his son was just a good excuse to end it because he couldn’t hit his weight any longer.


9 thoughts on “When Take Your Kid To Work Goes Too Far!

  1. Tim, great post. As an avid White Sox fan, I have been following this closely. Unless it is written in the contract, the team has the right to limit non-team personnel in the club house. 2 weeks ago, LaRoche had threatened to retire because of back problems. He has not been the player he has been in the past, hitting only .200 last year. Ken Williams the GM has said that they still would allow kids in the club house, just not every minute of every day.

    If there was a clause in LaRoche’s contract, that is a different story and a dumb move on the White Sox part. The Player’s Association is talking about filing a grievance. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. Good riddance LaRoche, the White Sox can do better. Hell Tim, you might be able to hit .200.

  2. Remember Rollie Fingers? But first, this is likely more than just a kid thing or a performance thing…sounds like there were relationship (organization & player) issues that have been brewing for some time and this just happened to be the tipping point. Adam wins because he looks like a great dad (of which, he likely is) and it’s yet to be determined if the Sox win on any points of this. Remember Rollie Fingers (Milwaukee does!)? Retired (supposedly) because the Reds had a no facial hair policy, of which was sharp contrast to Rollie’s signature ‘stache…. Of course Rollie was also in the latter portion of his prime and if that ‘stache could pay him more in dividends for years to come in appearances/endorsements than a final year of pitching mediocre ball, then perhaps he made the right call (PR and $ alike). –In the end, perhaps we just remember that professional athletes lead such different lives than the rest of us, that it’s really difficult and potentially even dangerous to try to parallel with our average joe work/life/family issues. Go Brewers!

  3. That was the first thing I thought when my husband was telling me about it. He is an older player probably not earning the money they promised, maybe a way to save some money.

    They next thing my husband told me though was, ok the White Sox did this to themselves. Last year when they let him come to Spring Training, they made the boy his own locker, gave him his own shirt, all the other players loved interacting with him. SO, did the White Sox set themselves up to send the wrong message? Yes, I think they did. A lesson for all of to learn from if we make any offers like this.

  4. I agree with this so much. I was annoyed listening to sports talk yesterday – this is SO not a “family issue”, it’s a performance issue. Amy makes GREAT points. It’s nice when you get perks – but when they become entitlement, it becomes a problem. I can only think he was looking for a way out and this gave it to him. I’m a bit gobsmacked.

  5. Brilliant! Plus, LaRoche is teaching the kid that if he doesn’t get his way, just quit! LaRoche is 100% wrong on this one and I feel no sympathy for him. In fact, as a Sox fan, I thank him for freeing up the roster spot.

    • Julie –

      The Sox are loaded this year! Hopefully, this distraction won’t last long. At first he had a ton of support, but I think players started hearing it from the fans who don’t get to take their kids to work full time and have backed off somewhat. Joe the Plumber doesn’t get to take his kid to work all day, and he makes 10,000 times less than you. Shut your mouth, keep playing a kids game, and have a little perspective!

  6. I agree but will add a caveat – White Sox now need to decide what is reasonable in terms of “bring your kids to work”. What would have happened if Adam’s son had been hit by an errant ball? And to your point Tim, what if let’s say…a minority player asks to bring his kid to spring training and gets turned down? Do you really want (or need) that headache? Have a family day for spring break training. Make a plan. Execute. Move on.

    • Amy –

      You’re so right. This is a management failure by never laying out to begin with what the expectations should have been to LaRoche. Originally, he asked the question – can I bring my son to Spring Training. The White Sox were like – yeah, we have a ton of players who bring their kids around during spring training. The problem was LaRoche took that as I can bring my kid 100% of the time, which isn’t the norm, or even close to it, anywhere in the major leagues. It’s a classic performance management failure by the White Sox.

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