Former Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche—who retired after he was asked by the team’s front office to dial back the amount of time his son, Drake, spent in the clubhouse—spoke at length about that decision with Tim Keown of ESPN the Magazine.

And LaRoche doesn’t seem to regret his decision one bit:

I’m not saying this is the way everybody should raise their kid. I’m saying I was given the privilege to raise my kid this way by some awesome teams and managers and GMs. Can every parent do it? No. But can we spend more time with our kids? Sure. I feel like I’ve spent as much time with Drake as you can, and if he were to die tomorrow, I guarantee you I’d be looking back and saying I wish I spent more time with him.

A lot went into LaRoche’s decision to retire. There was a trip to Southeast Asia in Nov. 2015 with a nonprofit organisation called the Exodus Road, where LaRoche and his close friend Blaine Boyer infiltrated brothels to determine the age of the female workers and tried to identify their bosses. There was the fact Drake would be in high school next year, where his attendance will be mandatory and he’ll play on the baseball team.

Until this point, Drake had been allowed to do his schoolwork electronically and, along with his sister, would spend several hours a day at a Sylvan Learning Center completing his studies.

“I am choosing my son over you guys,” LaRoche said to his teammates when he finally came to the decision to retire. “I cannot tell you how much I hate that I’m even having to make this decision, and how much it crushes me to feel like I could be leaving you guys hanging.”

To his credit, LaRoche understood some of the potential issues with having a kid in a clubhouse, but he also didn’t think they were that big of a deal.

“You can say, ‘That’s no place for a kid to be,'” LaRoche said of the culture of the clubhouse, which can be raucous, to put it mildly. “The way I see it, he’s going to be around that regardless, unless you home-school and raise them in a bubble. I can’t think of a better place for him to be when he gets a taste of that than with me.”

He added, “There’s a chance we could have other guys see Drake and think, ‘I’ll bring my kid, too.’ Obviously we can’t turn this into a day care. I get it.”

But Drake, who accompanied his father to the ballpark since 2011 when he was just nine, was “the exception to the rule,” according to LaRoche.

A part of the first baseman wondered if his declining production—he hit .207 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 127 games with the White Sox last season—was a part of the reason executive vice president Ken Williams approached him and asked him to bring his son into the clubhouse less often.

But don’t expect LaRoche to lose any sleep over his career coming to an end on his terms.

“If I had blown out a couple of years ago, or got released, I think I would have gotten over it really quick,” he told Keown. “I love it. It’s a passion. But I think every one of us is put here for a bigger purpose.”   


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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