Chicago White Sox

Adam LaRoche plays by HIS own rules? That's what his story is about? #Seriously

Adam LaRoche plays by HIS own rules? That's what his story is about? #Seriously

You knew there was going to be some kind of sequel to the amazing story of Adam LaRoche and his decision to walk away from millions of dollars because Chicago White Sox leaders had second thoughts about allowing his son Drake to come to work with him day after day.

Sure enough, ESPN assigned reporter Tim Keown to do one of those ultra-personal feature stories -- built on a long, exclusive interview -- that come a week or two after a media firestorm that created way more heat than light.

So we get a deep feature piece, precisely the kind that makes me think there is some chance that ESPN will finally take seriously the religion angle of a major story. Take that headline for example: "Adam LaRoche goes deep on his decision to walk."

Now, this story does include all kinds of interesting details and colorful anecdotes, while answering a few obvious questions. Some LaRoche critics, for example, thought it was strange that this loving dad wanted his son to spend so much time around, well, baseball players. Aren't they known for being a bit, well, profane and crass?

Yes, LaRoche knew that Drake would be stretched a bit. Thus, I loved the evidence that some of the players actually tried to clean up their acts a bit. For example:

In 2012, Nationals utilityman Mark DeRosa cut a deal with Drake: I'll pay you every time you catch me swearing.

"Ten bucks a word."

So how much did the kid make? You can look it up.

Now, the whole idea is that LaRoche -- #duh -- has a different set of priorities than your average millionaire jock.

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'Thank u Lord for the game of baseball' -- A religion ghost in LaRoche exit? You think?

'Thank u Lord for the game of baseball' -- A religion ghost in LaRoche exit? You think?

Here is a heart-strings tugger for you as we move closer to Opening Day in major-league baseball (an event that should receive Upper-Case status as a cultural holy day, as I am sure our own Bobby Ross Jr. would agree).

So Adam LaRoche walked away from his Chicago White Sox contract worth $13 million rather than yield to demands by management -- as in team president Ken Williams -- to drastically cut the amount of time his 14-year-old son Drake spent with him and the team during workouts and in the clubhouse.

Sports fans, you have to be blind as a bat not to see the religion ghost in this one.

I suspect that many sports-news scribes see the religion element, but they are hesitating to suggest that it may have been a factor in this buzz-worthy clash between this dad and the leaders of his team. Here is a chunk of the relevant report from the frequently faith-lite ESPN team:

LaRoche, 36, announced his retirement Tuesday, hinting at the reason behind his decision with the hashtag #familyfirst in a tweet posted that day.
When news of the reason became public Wednesday, Williams addressed the issue with reporters and said that kids are still permitted in the White Sox clubhouse, but they shouldn't be there every day, saying no job would allow that.
"Sometimes you have to make decisions in this world that are unpopular," he said.
The White Sox have always encouraged players to bring their kids into the clubhouse and onto the field, according to Williams. But he said he thought Drake LaRoche was there too much.

That #familyfirst tag is a clue, don't you think? And this tweet referenced in the ESPN report?

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