The Chicago White Sox made plenty of headlines in the offseason thanks to the moves that they made, but no story had quite the resonance of the decision of first baseman Adam LaRoche to retire from baseball.
The circumstances surrounding the retirement made the story salacious, as the first baseman retired because the team had asked him to stop bringing his son Drake to the ballpark on a daily basis, and rather than adhere to that desire, LaRoche opted to retire and walk away from his $13 million salary this season.
On Wednesday, LaRoche went into detail about his decision in a lengthy interview with ESPN’s Tim Keown. In the piece, LaRoche discusses the situation that led to his retirement, what he plans on doing next, and sheds light on his mentality after the events that transpired in Glendale at the White Sox training facility.
“I’m not saying this is the way everybody should raise their kid,” he said. “I’m saying I was given the privilege to raise my kid this way by some awesome teams and managers and GMs. Can every parent do it? No. But we can spend more time with our kids? Sure. I feel like I’ve spent as much time with Drake as you can, and if he were to die tomorrow, I guarantee you I’d be looking back and saying I wish I spent more time with him.”
The article also discussed what happened on the fateful day that LaRoche told his teammates about his plan to retire, and discusses how close the team came to refusing to take the field without him.
"After Ventura yielded the floor that morning, LaRoche stood before his teammates. 'I am choosing my son over you guys,' he said. 'I cannot tell you how much I hate that I'm even having to make this decision, and how much it crushes me to feel like I could be leaving you guys hanging.'
"His teammates stayed for nearly two hours after his announcement, debating whether to take the field. LaRoche says some urged him to change his mind - a compliment that didn't shake his resolve," the article says.
LaRoche discussed his decision extensively with Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Blaine Boyer, saying that the two talked for several days before the ultimate choice to walk away was made.
Now that he's no longer in baseball, LaRoche is planning a lengthy RV trip with his family, and he'll look to continue to dedicate time to fighting underage sex trafficking in Southeast Asia:
"Working through a non-profit called the Exodus Road, LaRoche and Boyer conducted surveillance in brothels and tried to determine the age of the girls - known only by numbers pinned to bikinis - and identify their bosses.
"'Something huge happened there for us,' Boyer says. 'You can't explain it. Can't put your finger on it. If you make a wrong move, you're getting tossed off a building. Adam and I truly believe God brought us there and said 'This is what I have for you boys.""
The full interview is available on ESPN’s website, and will also be part of a feature story on LaRoche that will appear in the April 25 edition of ESPN the Magazine.