When it came to choosing between $13 million or spending less time with his son at work, Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche decided to retire.
LaRoche, 36, walked away from the final year of his contract and ended his 12-year career after being informed by White Sox executive Ken Williams that his son, Drake, 14, would not be allowed to spend as much time with Adam and the team in the clubhouse.
He announced his retirement on Tuesday using the hashtag #FamilyFirst. Drake had become a fixture in the White Sox clubhouse on a daily basis to the point that Adam called him the team's "26th man" in a Chicago Tribune story last summer.
LaRoche's retirement raised the question of how much is too much when it comes to bringing your children to work, even if your workplace is a baseball stadium.
"I don't think he should be here 100 percent of the time — and he has been here 100 percent, every day, in the clubhouse,'' Williams told Fox Sports. "I said that I don't even think he should be here 50 percent of the time. Figure it out, somewhere in between.
"We all think his kid is a great young man. I just felt it should not be every day, that's all. You tell me, where in this country can you bring your child to work every day?"
Adam's brother, Andy, a former major league player himself, offered his support for Adam's decision. The LaRoche brothers themselves grew up in big-league ballparks because their father, Dave, is a former pitcher and coach who often brought them to work.
Several of LaRoche's former teammates also chimed in with their support for his decision.
"Adam and Drake are probably the most respected people in baseball I ever played with,'' White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton told Fox Sports. "Drake would clean cleats, he would help out in drills, pick up baseballs when we needed, he didn't say boo to anybody and was never a trouble in the clubhouse."
Different teams have different rules regarding when and how often children are allowed in the clubhouse. Children will be still be allowed in the White Sox clubhouse, but Williams is looking to draw the line at a certain point to keep the players focused on winning.
"Even 50 percent (of the time) is probably too much, but there's a wide range between 0-50 percent, so I was a little surprised by the stance he took, which is unfortunate," Williams told the Chicago Tribune. "But talk about a quality life decision, a family decision. He talks about being there for his family, and he put it front and center. I respect and admire that."
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