LaRoche brouhaha & Barry still hitting HRs: MLBRT 3/24

 

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Of course we’re leading off with the LaRoche brouhaha…

Then… Barry beats Giancarlo and other Marlins in a HR contest? Can Price be the best pitcher in the AL? And… of course what about them Rays playing in Cuba?

1) White Sox slugger Adam LaRoche is supposedly retiring because the Chicago White Sox president Ken Williams told him he could no longer bring his 14-year-old son with him to the clubhouse every day.  

Williams said he spoke with LaRoche and said “Listen, our focus, our interest, our desire this year is to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to focus on a daily basis on getting better. All I’m asking you to do with regard to bringing your kid to the ballpark is dial it back.” Williams’ added, “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. 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?”

What’s your opinion on this admittedly boondoggle of a situation?

Archie: It is kind of a jacked up situation. I have NEVER been in a pro locker room but the ones I have been in is no place for a young lad. There is enough horseplay, cursing, and general adult themed conversations going on that the kid will learn more about those things than he ever will about playing baseball. I agree as well that the clubhouse is the place to get ready for the game and task at hand; kids of any age can be a distractor at any given moment. I don’t blame Williams for his directive, it seemed fair and direct.

I do think maybe Adam over reacted, unless, of course, he was looking for a reason to quit anyway. 

Dan: This is a weird situation. I’m not too sure on what was said because reports have came out from Adam LaRoche and a couple other players saying that the White Sox organization lied to them about how much they can have their kids with them in the club house.adam-laroche-& Drake

LaRoche said that Williams said he can have his kid in the clubhouse whenever then just randomly said he can’t have his son in the locker room at all. Sale had reacted.

Williams said he restricted it down but never said he couldn’t have his son in the club house at all.

Honestly, I have a problem with this whole situation. It’s just a major distraction and I don’t believe this was the real reason LaRoche retired. He could’ve asked for a trade or done something different, but, up and retire?

Also, I don’t think there should be any problem with allowing a kid in the locker room. It’s somebody’s family. As long as it’s not distracting him or anyone else’s game performance and the way they’re preparing for the season, then, why is it a problem?

Earl: I am of two minds on this.

Part of me admires Adam’s dedication to his son and the relationship the two of them have, but, part of me also realizes that in a workplace you should not have your child there with you all of the time.

Despite the reports of Drake LaRoche being a positive influence in the clubhouse, he shouldn’t be there 24/7. It’s not a place for a child, even, if, Adam and his teammates were accepting of it.

So, at the end of the day, I slightly lean to the White Sox organization on what really is a sensitive issue.

Joe: I think there is a lot going on here and its all become all bollixed up and the truth is probably never going to be fully revealed.

This is how I see the situation… the Chicago White Sox, at one point, gave permission to LaRoche to have his son around the locker room and on the field and then they let it get out of hand… to the point where the kid was around a lot… even had his own locker and uniform.adam-laroche-

Then, at some point some of the players kind of felt resentful of the kid being around… maybe because they couldn’t act like they wanted or maybe they felt why does LaRoche get so much leeway and privileges… ain’t like he’s a big superstar… whatever the reasons I think some players began to not want the kid around as much as he was. Eventually, these players felt pushed into a corner. They didn’t really want the kid around as much as he was but they also felt they were between a rock and hard place if they voiced their opinions… why that was I’m not sure but I think it was a reality and a problem that did exist.

So, they went to Williams, or, maybe they went to some other club official who then dropped the hot potato in Williams’ lap. Williams went to LaRoche and said he had to dial  it back a bit with the kid being around, and for whatever reason, LaRoche, in my opinion, over reacted and made a personal decision to quit the team, and in so doing, quit MLB.

Was it all because of the Sox’ stance against his son being around as much as he was? Personally? I doubt that was the full reason. It was a part of it… but, I think, it was probably an opening that allowed him to quit the game without losing face; without being seen as a player who was walking out on his team. Regardless of the reason, I do think he wanted to quit the game and the issue with his son was the lynchpin that made it a fait accompli. The real reason, in my mind, that I think he wanted out was because he was realizing he couldn’t play the game at the level he had once had played it and the game wasn’t as fun as it used to be. He and Williams having the confrontation about his son was the excuse he was looking for to walk away.

Understand this though… The Sox blew it when they didn’t set limits about players children being around and it got out of hand. I think Williams also blew it when he didn’t come right out and say some anonymous players were having a problem with the kid being around all the time and he tried to cover that part of it up and came off looking stupid… LaRoche was wrong by not being honest with himself.

That’s the way I see the entire situation… I may be wrong but I’d wager I’m pretty damn close to what went down.

Steve: There really is not a wrong person here.

Ken Williams (left) & Adam LaRoche
Ken Williams (left) & Adam LaRoche

The White Sox are in the right because, Williams is absolutely correct. What job allows you to bring your child to work with you? I know that my kids are not allowed at my job while I am working. I am not even allowed to have my phone to talk to them at work. So, he has a valid point.

I can see LaRoche’s point as well, the Nationals allowed him to have Drake around, and, last year the White Sox allowed it. If, it was such a big deal, this should have been addressed early and not have waited until a few weeks before the start of the season to give LaRoche the news that he will not be allowed to come to the ballpark with the team every day.

Makes sense to me, while it may be an unpopular decision to fans and to the players. Williams had to do what is best for his club. LaRoche made his decision to retire, and that is his choice.

2) White Sox’ pitcher Chris Sale is strongly rumored to have had a “contentious” meeting with the team’s president Kenny Williams on Wednesday where Sale supposedly told Williams  to get out of the clubhouse and stay out. An anonymous source says Williams acknowledged that he and Sale met and that the meeting was passionate.

Regardless of how Sale felt when he approached Williams should he have dialed things back a bit until feelings and emotions settled down?

Archie: You know, this is another classic example of the inmates running the ward. Since, when is it okay for the Employees to run the show? While I understand the MLBPA has done great things for players and provided them with many liberties they may not have had 30 years ago, I still would not put
up with a player, manager, ball boy or anyone else telling me to get out of the locker room IF I were the president of the club.

Sale tells media... "We were lied to..."
Sale tells media… “We were lied to…”

Say what you want about upper management screwing things up by dipping their toes into waters that they might not belong in, but, in the end, they are the ones signing the paychecks so you kind of have to keep your mouth shut and just go about your business in a professional manner.

In the mean time, I honestly believe Williams was falling on a sword for others that was too shy or unwilling to speak up about Drake’s presence in the clubhouse all the time.

Dan: I have no problem with Sale going in there and speaking his mind and I’m not sure exactly what was said or the tone at what it was said, but, he should’ve kept a level head. From what I’ve read on what was said and the whole situation, he didn’t.

Honestly, it’s not his place to go off like that. It wasn’t dealing with his kid and nobody told him to do anything. He could’ve still got his point across while keeping a level-head. Instead, he came across extremely poorly to Ken Williams and the organization.

Earl: Why am I all of a sudden getting the feeling that this this is going to be a LONG season for the White Sox? Seems like they might need to keep Kenny Williams out of the clubhouse and not Drake LaRoche.

Anyway, the emotion should not have been present, but, if, Sale and the team have legitimate concerns to air out and they feel like they are not being heard then anger is going to be there. No different than any other job really. Who among us have not been part of contentious meetings on our jobs? I know I have.

Joe: Bottom line… Willaims is part of management… mangement represents ownership… ownership owns it all… ergo.. they can be there whether Sale likes it or not.

Adam & Drake LaRoche (L) Ken Williams (C) & Chris Sale
Adam & Drake LaRoche (L) Ken Williams (C) & Chris Sale

Should non-uniformed management peeps have a big prescence in the clubhouse and locker room.? In my opinion… no. But, they can if they want to, because, in effect, its their ball.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle things.  Sale got emotional and being a big star used his star power to blow off steam at soemoen fro management. He shouldn’t have, but, hell, we all  have done it.. or at least something similar… at one time or another. Overall, its not that big of a deal… but… he was wrong.

Steve: No, Sale is right. General Managers’ and Owners’ place is in the front office, not in the clubhouse.

You hire a manager to manage the locker room and the players. Unless, you are celebrating a championship of any sort, the owners and GM’s should stay out of the clubhouse. I fault Robin Ventura for letting this issue get too far out of hand and allowing Sale to go off on Kenny Williams. Ventura should have addressed Kenny Williams himself, on behalf of his players.

3) The Tampa Bay Rays are about to play the Cuban national team in Cuba… any thoughts?

Archie: Bullshit. I am still not ready to open that border freely. Call me old fashion, call me an idiot, call me what you want but Cuba Still has too many political ties with those that would harm the U.S. and I for one do not see where we should be playing there.

Tampa Bay Rays vs Cuba's Nationals
Tampa Bay Rays vs Cuba’s Nationals

Or, is it just a trick for the Rays to scout talent?

Dan: I think this is really cool and will open a gate so more teams will play in Cuba during spring training as well as get Cuba more open to the United States and all of that.

Also, it really will be cool to see some prospects in action, as well as be a scout’s dream in watching how these prospects do against major leaguers.

Earl: I like it.

After so many decades of blockade and isolation, it feels like things are heading in a new direction when it comes to relations with Cuba. It’s something new, and, I like the fact that Major League Baseball is a part of the reapproachment with Cuba.

Joe: I think its good that we are playing baseball with Cuba and maybe through playing a sport it can help open the doors to having free travel to and from the Big Island to our South.

Asfor the politics… Hell. we deal with a lot worst governments so why not Cuba, too?

Steve: No, it is what it is. I think it’s more important for the United States as a country, that we are able to work with Cuba for the first time in a half a century.

I like that they are trying to allow Cubans to come to America to play baseball without having to defect. It will just bring a better situation for baseball and the United States.

4) News item: The Miami Marlins batting coach Barry Bonds was involved in a home run hitting contest amongst the players and out-homered both Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich… Stanton confirmed that Bonds did, indeed, hit more home runs than he did in the contest, and, it is assumed, that Bonds also out-homered Yelich.

At 51-years-old do you think Barry Bonds could still compete/hit… hit for some power and a decent average… in MLB, at least as a team’s DH?  

Archie: Yes.

Bonds beats Marlins' players in HR Contest
Bonds beats Marlins’ players in HR Contest

I for one believe he was blackballed by ownership when he finished with the Giants. Anyone that wants to look at the numbers he put up the last season has to wonder, at $15 million a year why the hell he could not get a contract as a DH the next season.

I still contend he is/was the best hitter I ever seen play the game and I go back further than most on this site.

Dan: While, I think Bonds still has a hitting touch and the power, I don’t think that he would be able to compete like he used to be able to as a DH at his age. A home run derby and an actual game are two different animals. While I do think that he could still play at the MLB level, I don’t believe that he would be able to be an everyday player even at DH.

But, I do think he’d be able to hold his own on a part time basis. He would struggle in the early beginning with real life games but after he got back into facing curves, sliders, etc and knowing the placement of pitches, he would do alright. I just wouldn’t recommend him to try it though, stay as a coach.

Earl: No, he cannot compete at 51 years old.

It’s great that Barry Bonds can hit some soft tosses out of the yard but at 51 years old and out of the game for several years, I would think it’s damn near impossible that Barry can handle pitchers throwing legit heat at him.Don & Barry

Joe: I wouldn’t doubt Bonds could still hit, and probably hit for power against some major league pitching. But, at 51-years-of-age? Not every day and not against the top pitchers.

Steve: I honestly think that Bonds could very well hit 20 plus HR, if, he was in the American League as a DH. I would say more but I don’t think he could play every day.

Bonds is a strong man and not because of PEDs. He has amazing bat speed, and awesome hand eye coordination. Put this together and the ball can go a very long way.

So, yes, Bonds could make it in the AL as a Designated Hitter.

5) How good do you think David Price will be in Boston… Cy Young good or somewhere in-between?

Archie: Somewhere in between.

Price has had a history of “good year”-“really good year.”  So, after a really good year last season I can see where he probably have a “good year” this season but not a “really good Cy Young
year.”

Dan: Honestly, I think David Price will be a very good pitcher, one of the top-10 in the league. Do I think he will be able to compete for the Cy Young? Yes, but I don’t see him winning it. Although, in the AL, I can see a lot of various pitchers being in the running for it and could potentially be named the AL Cy Young Award winner. And, it could certainly be him.

But, as  I said, I see him in the top 10 of pitchers in the AL this season.

Earl: David Price is going to be fine. Cy Young winning fine? Possibly.STON7737.JPG

He’s a good pitcher and we know that, but, in order to win the Cy Young he’s going to need help from his teammates. The Red Sox have a fine enough roster but he’s going to need them to step up and get some runs. If, they can do that and Price can keep his ERA low, then, yeah, he can be in the hunt.

Joe: I didn’t buy into what the Red Sox did last year, and, ultimately, my opinion was proven out as they finished poorly for the year. I’m not buying into evrything they have done this off-season either. I do  think they made some oves that did improve the team, with Price being one of them but still I don’t see them winning the AL East or making the playoffs.

As for Price… I think he wins at least 15 games in 2016 and maybe gets close to 20, with a decent ERA, but, doesn’t have a  Cy Young caliber year.

Steve: He proved he could pitch in Tampa Bay; he pitched well in Detroit, and, then, in Toronto when he was traded to the Blue Jays. So, what is there to say that he will not pitch well in Boston?

He has a great lineup and defense playing behind him, so, I would not be the least bit surprised if David Price wins the CY Young award this season with Boston.

 Extra Innings… big bird

 On March 24, 2001…  Randy Johnson drilled a bird, that exploded on contact, while pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a Spring Training game against the San Francisco Giants.

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