White Sox

White Sox players supported Adam LaRoche, son in Tuesday meeting

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White Sox players supported Adam LaRoche, son in Tuesday meeting

PHOENIX — Drake LaRoche has plenty of support within the White Sox clubhouse.

Both outfielder Adam Eaton and executive vice president Kenny Williams said Wednesday that players rallied behind the 14-year-old son of Adam LaRoche during a lengthy meeting Tuesday in which the veteran announced his abrupt retirement. Adam LaRoche informed teammates he intends to retire and forego a $13 million salary after Williams asked him to reduce Drake LaRoche’s clubhouse appearances. Players who had been around Drake LaRoche for the past year said they don’t want to see him or his father go. Eaton said the White Sox didn’t participate in their routine stretching because the meeting went long.

“We wanted Drake in the clubhouse, and we were backing Adam in every aspect,” Eaton said. “In that sense we’re going to miss him. He chose family over allowing his son to be in the clubhouse and we respect what he had to do. The man and the character that Adam LaRoche is, we’re not surprised he chose his family. He’s a God-fearing man, and you have to respect that. It is what it is, a tough little go at it, but I respect his decision.

“We can say we enjoyed Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse and everything he brought in the clubhouse. He brought perspective. He helped out and around, he wasn’t a burden by any stretch of the imagination. He wasn’t a big problem last year.”

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Drake LaRoche has been around the club on a consistent basis, at home and on the road, since Adam LaRoche signed with the White Sox for two seasons. He also has a locker stall in the clubhouse and did the same when his father played for the Washington Nationals.

Williams knew his decision wouldn’t be popular with players. But he said the choice is more about setting a precedent for future players and has nothing to do with Drake LaRoche’s behavior. Williams said he appreciates how his players rallied together in support of Adam LaRoche and his son during Tuesday’s meeting.

“One thing with regards to this that I really have felt really good about is we felt that they were banding together,” Williams said. “But the way that they banded together to try to protect this young man and their teammate and everything — I told them, it’s admirable, and I love the bond that’s been created.”

Eaton still wasn’t totally comfortable discussing the situation a day later. Technically, Adam LaRoche hasn’t finalized his retirement. But the White Sox also believe he doesn’t intend to retract it.

“I’m on eggshells,” Eaton said. “Adam (LaRoche) doesn’t want to make it a big deal, so it’s kind of tough for me to comment on it. I don’t think he was planning on retiring.

“Adam and Drake are probably the most respected people I’ve ever played with. Drake would clean cleats, he would help out in drills, he’d help pick up baseballs. He’d pick up baseballs if you needed to hit them. He didn’t say boo to anybody. Never a trouble in the clubhouse.”

2020 MLB season: White Sox opponents, schedule, format and odds

2020 MLB season: White Sox opponents, schedule, format and odds

Major League Baseball announced the White Sox 2020 schedule Monday. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season.

When does the Major League Baseball season begin?

After a three-month layoff due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, teams are currently in the middle of a second round of spring training, branded “Summer Camp,” that will last roughly three weeks. Opening Day is set for July 23, when Major League Baseball will showcase games pitting the New York Yankees against the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants. The White Sox will open their season a day later, on July 24, with the start of a three-game series against the division-rival Minnesota Twins.

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How many games will be played this season?

Every team is scheduled to play 60 regular-season games over 66 days, with games being played at teams’ home ballparks. At the conclusion of the regular season on Sept. 27, the playoffs will begin and are scheduled to take place during the month of October, as usual. Though there was talk of an expanded playoff field including as many as 16 teams, more than half the league, the lack of an agreement between the league and the players’ union means the playoff field will be the same as usual: five teams from each league.

Which teams will the White Sox play this season?

Major League Baseball is using a geographic schedule this season, with the intent of minimizing travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The White Sox will play 10 games each against their AL Central rivals: the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. They will play six games against the Crosstown-rival Cubs, and the remaining 14 games will be played against the other four teams from the NL Central: the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.

RELATED: White Sox 2020 schedule: 5 key series during 60-game race for AL Central crown

2020 White Sox schedule

The White Sox open the season against the Twins on July 24 at Guaranteed Rate Field. They close the season with three games against the Crosstown-rival Cubs on the South Side. See the entire White Sox schedule here.

Updated odds to win the 2020 World Series

The Yankees are the favorite to win the World Series, at 3:1 odds. The White Sox have 40:1 odds. Seventeen teams have better odds.


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White Sox schedule release: Slow start not an option with brutal first week

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USA Today

White Sox schedule release: Slow start not an option with brutal first week

When the White Sox officially open their long-awaited "competitive window" on July 24 against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field, Opening Day will serve as Opening Day only in the sense that it is the first game of the season. The reality is, in a 60-game season, the game means a whole lot more.

“This is the way I’m approaching it,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Monday. “We got a 60-game schedule. I’m going to assume we already played 102 games and were in first place and we’re trying to hold onto that slot.”

It makes sense. All 30 MLB teams are being given the chance to be in first place in late July with 60 games to go. Who can take advantage the fastest?

The White Sox are certainly being given one heck of an opportunity – or challenge, depending on how you look at it. They will open the abbreviated season at home with a three-game series against the Twins before going on the road for three in Cleveland.

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If you were to picture a normal year in which the White Sox, Twins and Indians were in a three-way tie for first place on July 24 with those six games next up on the schedule, the hype and anxiety would be real. A bad week could cost the White Sox its season.

So consider this a 100-meter dash in which a stumble out of the blocks could end the race early.

RELATED: Full 2020 White Sox schedule

“We’re going to try to proceed that way, obviously without putting anyone in harms way, but it is important for a club to get off to a good start because obviously because the schedule is waning. It’s short,” Renteria said. “So I’m going to approach it that way and put us in a position where we are creative, try to have a good eye on what everyone is doing, and see if we can kind of maintain ourselves throughout the whole schedule.”

If you’re one who claims managers aren’t important, try being a manager in 2020. Typically, a first-place team in late July would have the benefit of having an established lineup, reliable starters and a bullpen the manager knows how to navigate. This year, the White Sox – and every other team – will be starting cold, perhaps even risking injury after just three weeks to ramp up, all while not knowing who might test positive for COVID-19 on any given day.

And simply from a pure baseball standpoint, will a rookie like Luis Robert go though understandable early-season struggles against Major League pitching or will he benefit from bypassing the April/May weather in Chicago and start hot?

"I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to start the season pretty hot and display all my talent,” Robert said Monday. “I will have to adjust as much as I can if I have any trouble."

There are a lot of unknowns, except for the fact that the White Sox will be thrust into a pennant race on Day 1 with six crucial games against the two teams they figure to be competing against in the A.L. Central. Zooming out a bit, their next 10 games include three against the Royals, four against the Brewers and three more against the Indians, meaning 13 of their first 16 games are against realistic contenders.

In other words, a slow start isn’t an option.

From there, the White Sox do have a couple favorable stretches in their schedule, including a 17-day period at home after their Aug. 13 game in Iowa against the Cardinals. But no one will want to be playing catch-up that quickly. Even just a .500 record through the first two weeks could set the White Sox up for a run, but like every other team, they must avoid an early losing streak, especially since they open against the Twins and Indians.

Of course, the goal is to make the final week really count. The White Sox end the season with four in Cleveland before a three-game series at home against the Cubs. If those games matter, well, perhaps this wonky, nightmarish 2020 season can be considered a success after all.

 

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