With the Adam LaRoche saga continuing, Chicago White Sox VP Kenny Williams has expressed a desire for the team to focus on baseball, but star pitcher Chris Sale has other ideas.
In a scathing session with reporters on Friday, Sale, standing in front of his locker that contained jerseys for both LaRoche and his son Drake, blasted Williams for his handling of the situation and alleged the players were lied to.
“This isn’t us rebelling against rules," he said. "It’s us rebelling against BS. Plain and simple.”
The controversy began earlier this week when LaRoche announced that he intended to retire for personal reasons. Over the intervening days, it was revealed that the reason for LaRoche’s decision was that the team, specifically Williams, had asked him to dial back the amount of time the first baseman’s son Drake spent in the clubhouse during the season.
"[Drake is] very welcome just as all our players kids are and always have been, really," Williams told NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski Wednesday. "I mean our policy is not changing. The thing I asked for in this particular situation was for it to be not an everyday thing and to dial it back."
Williams declined to comment on whether any players had complained about Drake's presence, but said Drake is "loved by everyone around here" and applauded the players for standing behind LaRoche.
"Kenny said quite a few things contradicting statements a couple times," Sale said. "Came to the players said it was the coaches, went to the coaches said it was the players, then came in here and said it was the owner. We're not exactly -- who it's coming from where it originated from, that's why kind of we're trying to figure out where it all came from."
Players reportedly were furious with the team’s decision and the process behind it, and Sale later went on an expletive-laden tirade against Williams in a closed-door meeting at the clubhouse.
“If the right person had handled it, it would have been handled different,” Sale said Friday. “What goes on in the clubhouse, the right person has to handle that, and that’s [Robin Ventura]. He’s the top, he’s the leader in the clubhouse. If something needs to be said in here, he can say it and it’s taken with respect because he’s fighting with us and quite honestly he’s taken heat for us that he doesn’t deserve. We trust him.”
Sale also has demanded a meeting with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has sided with Williams on many power struggles in the past.
“While we appreciate everyone’s attention and interest, we continue to feel that it would be premature to comment at this time," Reinsdorf said in a statement. "This is an internal issue, and we are in the process of holding a number of discussions with players, staff and the front office. As a result, we do not want to comment until that process is completed. I have instructed members of the organization not to talk about this issue and get our focus back on the field and winning baseball games.”
Sale also said that the situation has distracted the team from its preparation for the season, which begins in a little over two weeks.
“If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen,” he said. “We were rolling. It just took someone to come in here and throw a wrench into the plans.”