The quote of the day in baseball on Saturday belonged to White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton, on Chicago radio station 670 The Score, as brought to the world on Twitter by Matt Abbatacola.
— Matt Abbatacola (@MattAbbatacola) March 19, 2016
Eaton was referring, of course, to Drake LaRoche, the 14-year-old son of now-retired designated hitter Adam LaRoche, whose exit from the game was prompted this week by White Sox management requesting that Drake not be in the clubhouse every day.
What is stunning about this isn’t that Eaton is saying that a 14-year-old was a leader for the White Sox. At this point, the whole thing has spun so far out of control that you wouldn’t be surprised to hear someone on the White Sox say that the reason Drake was around so much was that he was very close to completing work on a time machine to go back to 1919 and convince the Black Sox not to throw the World Series.
The thing that stands out is that the discord between players and management is continuing. On Friday, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf issued a statement designed to bring silence to the subject.
“While we appreciate everyone’s attention and interest, we continue to feel that it would be premature to comment at this time,” Reinsdorf said. “This is an internal issue, and we are in the process of holding a number of discussions with players, staff and the front office. As a result, we do not want to comment until that process is completed. I have instructed members of the organization not to talk about this issue and get our focus back on the field and winning games.”
One day later, there was Eaton, not only not disobeying an ownership directive, but escalating things by emphasizing his former teammate’s son’s importance to the team.
For what it’s worth, the White Sox did maintain their focus on the field and won a Cactus League game on Friday, notching a 3-2 win over the Cubs that included five innings of one-hit ball from John Danks and a double and a run scored for designated hitter Travis Ishikawa, whose job prospects are better with LaRoche out of the picture.
Whatever the truth is about how LaRoche got out of the picture matters less with each passing day. If the divide between White Sox players and White Sox management continues to fester, it’s going to be up to them to figure out how to make that something that actually works for them, unlike that last big scandal Drake LaRoche may or may not have been trying to travel nearly a century to avert.