Cheap Seats

Should kids be in MLB clubhouses? Yes... but no

I’m sure I risk the endless fury of the internet by opining about this whole Adam LaRoche kerfuffle.

But that kind of thing has never stopped me before. She here is my take:

Let me start off by saying that anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that NOTHING is more important to me than my son. I’d do anything or give up anything for him. I totally get why a dad would want to spend as much time with his son as possible.

I have passed on career opportunities that would have resulted in me being less available to spend time with my son. I start my work day at 5:30 in the morning so I can be there to pick him up from school in the afternoon. Yet anyone who knows me even a little bit knows there are few things I despise more than early mornings.

But I do it for my son.

So, in that context, let me say that I think it’s really lame that LaRoche took his toys and decided to go home because the Chicago White Sox asked their player to dial back on having his kid in their business 100 percent of the time.

They didn’t tell him he couldn’t bring the kid to the park every single day. They didn’t say he couldn’t come to every single game or go on every single road trip. They didn’t ban him from shagging fly balls or having his own locker in the team’s clubhouse. They simply said there needs to be some time in the day where the team can conduct its business when there aren’t young ears in the room.

Can you imagine if the White Sox bumble their way through their 10th loss in a row and the manager wants to give them a salty talking too while he’s in a good lather -- but he can’t because a pie-eyed youngster is sitting there on daddy’s lap?

Anybody whose made it as far as high school sports knows at some point there is going to be a testosterone-fueled cursefest in a sports team’s private sanctuary. That’s just the way things are in the real world.

You can’t tamp down all the emotions of sports -- especially professional sports -- without it affecting the product on the field.

Yeah, LaRoche’s kid is a teenager now. But how can you tell all the other players that their kids can’t be in the room 24 hours a day if you let one guy do it?

I’ve had my kid in the office from time to time out of necessity. But I have no expectation that I could bring him to work every day during the summer to avoid paying for daycare -- or just because I like to have him around, for that matter.

Why? Because not only is it going to prevent me from doing my job most efficiently. It is going to prevent everyone else from doing their jobs, too, whether it’s people who love kids who couldn’t resist wandering over to say hello instead of working -- or curmudgeons who can’t concentrate because that darn kid is playing too loudly or asking questions.

While the White Sox players have publicly supported LaRoche, someone obviously complained about the situation. Things like this don’t happen in a vacuum.

And it’s kind of bush league of LaRoache to pack up his stuff and quit when he didn’t get his way. While he said that he was promised his kid could be around when he signed, professional athletes know that trades are made, managers are changed and other things happen at any time to alter the course of clubs. But he signed a contract to play and he ought to honor it.

LaRoache said it’s ok that his kid doesn’t go to school because he learns more “life lessons” at the ballpark than he would in the classroom? Yet the lesson here is if you don’t get your way -- and I mean 100 percent of your way, all the time -- it’s OK to quit. Or maybe it’s that work isn’t really that important. At least not as important as doing only what you want to do all the time.

If LaRoache wanted his kid to learn from his buddies, maybe he shouldn’t have completely divorced himself from the opportunity to be in the clubhouse and all the field altogether.

I can’t believe the MLB Players Association things walking away from a $13-million contract is a good idea. If you’ve got an under-achieving, over-priced veteran player, just hassle his family and he’ll quit out of principle, saving the club millions.

Good thing the business barons of the industrial age didn’t tell unionizing factory workers they couldn’t bring their kids to the plant. Otherwise they could have stopped the whole labor movement cold!

But those people had to actually work for a living to make sure their family had shelter and food. LaRoche has millions to fall back on. So he can act like a spoiled prima donna and go home.

LaRoche, not the White Sox, made this all or nothing. And they have more to answer to than 25 players. They’re trying to put a product on their field -- after several years of disappointing results -- that is competitive in a market dominated by the superhyped Cubs.

This didn’t have to happen. He could have told his kid he couldn’t be in the clubhouse for an hour before and an hour after games, relegating him to a luxury suite with a big screen TV and a nacho bar while daddy was working. But that wasn’t good enough.

Boo freaking hoo.

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