The White Sox’ clubhouse is blowing up over the Adam LaRoche situation
“This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.” -- Admiral Josh Painter, “The Hunt for Red October.” Or maybe it was Chris Sale who said it. Hard to tell at this point.
Emotions and anger boiled over at White Sox camp in Glendale today, as Chris Sale went off on Executive Vice President Ken Williams over the ongoing Adam LaRoche drama. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Sale hung up Adam LaRoche and Drake LaRoche uniforms in his locker. A gesture often reserved for, you know, players who died. In case you were wondering how some of the Sox players feel about this whole situation.
The Drake jersey had words written on it to Sale from the young man which read “Thanks for everything. I’ll never forget you!” It’s as if he was lost at sea, not out hunting with his dad someplace at the moment.
Sale then expressed to reporters just how upset he and some of his teammates are:
Chris Sale: "This isn't us rebelling against rules. This is us rebelling against BS."— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 18, 2016
Chris Sale said Ken Williams told "bald-faced lie," variously blamed teammtes, coaches and management for change in Drake La Roche's access.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 18, 2016
Chris Sale, ripping Ken Williams, on clubhouse access debacle: "If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen."— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 18, 2016
Adam Eaton, the club’s union rep, was the latest voice to suggest that LaRoche’s contract had language in it which ensured Drake LaRoche’s presence in the clubhouse. As we noted before, it’s quite possible that the language did not speak to a specific amount of time Drake could be there, which may have made Ken Williams feel comfortable asking Adam to limit his son’s access. As we also noted before, however, in the context of a grievance over this, the contract language may not really matter as much as custom, habit and expectations. Either way, Eaton suggested that a grievance would be filed and that he is going to be in contact with the MLBPA.
I’m stuck on Sale’s accusation that Williams lied. That Williams blamed teammates and coaches for the new Drake LaRoche policy. Williams said before that he was acting on his own accord, not at the request of Sox players. Sale said Williams blamed others. Was that a lie or did he lie about player complaints? One of them would have to be a lie, no? Assuming he said what Sale said he said.
You know where I stand on this, of course, but that hardly matters at this point. What matters is that the Sox’ ace -- and likely several other players for whom he presumably speaks -- is up in arms. At the moment he’s up in arms at his front office. But if other players complained about Drake LaRoche -- and it’s likely that they did -- how long until Sale comes to accept that? And then what happens? If Sale is this angry in front of reporters about a team executive, how is he going to respond to White Sox players once he realizes that this wasn’t all just Ken Williams’ doing?