If you thought time would help resolve some of the mystery surrounding why Adam LaRoche chose to retire than cut back on how much time his son spent in the clubhouse, you're going to have to give it at least another day.
Well into the second day of this drama, there remain unanswered questions like:
- Where was Robin Ventura in all of this?
- Where was Rick Hahn in all of this?
- Who were the players supporting and spatting with Kenny Williams?
- Who were the players that reported their complaints to Kenny Williams about Drake LaRoche?
Let's start with Ventura, who during his tenure as manager of the Sox has been lauded for his ability to keep the clubhouse calm and prevent players choking each other. According to ESPN's Karl Ravech, the players were so upset they threatened to boycott Tuesday's game. From Ravech on the Mike & Mike show:
This was a team that ultimately said to the manager 'we're not going to go out and play in that game at 1:00.' You had a team that was willing to stand by the player and not participate in practice, and more so, not participate in an exhibition game.
It was Ventura who pleaded with the players to go out and play in the game for his job's sake. Kudos to his ability to get the players calm down enough to carry on with the day and avoid further embarrassment of forfeiting an exhibition game. Though, it begins to bring into the light how serious this issue is. Not only did it become the straw that broke Adam LaRoche's back and made up his mind to retire early, but the players were so displeased about the decision that a faction of them were ready to mutiny.
Which brings us to Rick Hahn. Where was he in this mess?
According to Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan, he was good with Drake being in the clubhouse.
After GM Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura OK'd Drake LaRoche's presence, for Williams to unilaterally say otherwise set the players off.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2016
Which leads to ask which players confronted Williams about Drake? We know that Adam Eaton showed his support on Twitter for LaRoche, as have Zach Duke and Brett Lawrie. In terms of face-to-face confrontation, the only identified player is one who is no stranger to shouting matches with Williams.
For those that forgot or don't know, back in 2012 Sale confronted Williams on the team's decision to have him be in the bullpen than the rotation. The heated phone conversation might be the reason Sale is an elite starter today, rather than an elite closer. That's an example of conflict that can work well in both an individual's and team's favor.
The issue in this case is that Sale reportedly doesn't believe that Williams shouldn't have much say on what is happening within the clubhouse.
The main thrust of Chris Sale's anger with Kenny Williams was that he's not around enough to understand the dynamics of White Sox clubhouse.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2016
It's quite understandable why players would rise up and rebel against senior leadership on a decision they are making without having full understanding the impact within the clubhouse. In an interview with Ken Rosenthal, Williams said intervening is something he'd rather not do.
"This had the potential to piss people off and I'm the best one to absorb the heat. Period. Rarely do I involve myself in clubhouse matters with the last being offensive music with lyrics that could offend the female reporters around. This would make the second time in maybe 12 years. That's not terribly intrusive."
The last question of who the players were that voiced their concerns to Williams is trivial at this point. What we know is that having Drake LaRoche around upset or annoyed some Sox players, which Williams sought to find resolution. His request ultimately made the elder LaRoche upset and decided to retire, and it's a decision which has now apparently created division within the clubhouse, despite what some Sox players are saying.
Now the question is will this carry over into the regular season? The last thing that this team needs, with so many new faces and a desperate need to win, is to have a clubhouse up in arms about a player's choice to pick family over his job.