I’m currently in the midst of preparing for the upcoming MLB season, which general means Fantasy Baseball! Now my weapon of choice is ESPN (my apologies to any other site) so whilst going through projections and determining which closers to take with my late round picks I’ve been trying to get myself up to date with the saga Adam LaRoche has found himself in.
Let’s not kid ourselves, there’s no job in the world like being a professional athlete. Whether it be baseball, football or tennis, there is always extra scrutiny placed on the behaviour of these people… mostly due to the amounts of money they make the rest of us can only dream of. But this story has raised some questions that I hadn’t previously considered.
If you’re like most parents you’re more than happy to head to work for the day knowing your kids are at school, day care or working themselves. Very few workplaces allow you to bring your kids to work, most of the reasons for this are obvious. They are a distraction, they get bored, they’ll hurt themselves or cause someone else to get hurt… the list goes on. Those that are professional athletes have the luxury of not having the traditional workplace where kids CAN be brought and, for the most part, be able to be themselves without any real fuss.
There are countless videos of stars either at practice (hello Peyton Manning) or at a press conference with their son or daughter (hello Stephen and Riley Curry). You’ll find very few negative comments relating to any of these examples. But what if Manning was rolling around with his kids and an errant ball flies in his direction? What if it his one of his kids? What if there was serious injury? And what about the kinds of conversations athletes have in locker rooms and clubhouses, are these really appropriate for kids?
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with pro athletes taking their kids with them to where they work (I wish I had a Dad who was playing in the NBA or MLB that I could’ve tagged along with!). I think it’s a great experience for them to be around people they might idolise, they get a chance to travel around the country and have many different experiences that lost of other families will never get the chance to take. But there’s that little part of me that worries that it only takes 1 time where a foul ball hits an unassuming child in the head or a unaware wide receiver doesn’t notice that someone has wandered out onto the field ’cause that’s where Daddy is for the naysayers to come out of the woodwork and cry foul (pardon the pun).
I applaude Adam LaRoche for his decision to leave baseball to be a more attentive father. Many, many fathers out there could take a leaf from his book in their own lives. As someone who accumulated almost $60 million it’s a little easier to make that decision that you or I. But he was a veteran of 1,605 games over 12 MLB seasons as well as hitting 255 home runs, good for 199th on the all time list so it’s not like we’re talking about someone who’s barely making the 25 man roster.
From the research I completed before writing this (and believe me, there was plenty!) there is very little (if anything) negative to be said about the type of man Adam LaRoche is. He was a great teammate, a terrific father, and a pretty good ball player. And if we have seen him on a MLB field for the last time he’ll have this… his last hit as a Major League player (2016 Spring Training) was a home run!