Just a couple of days ago we heard that Adam LaRoche has made the decision to retire from baseball after the Chicago White Sox team President informed him that he had to limit the time that his 14 year-old son spent with the team. Regardless of how you perceive the decision made by management you have to understand that the club management had every right to make the decision as stated “Williams addressed the issue with reporters and said that kids are still permitted in the White Sox’s clubhouse, but they shouldn’t be there every day, saying no job would allow that. There are not companies that I know of that allow children to accompany their parents to work every day.
I have heard the argument that there are plenty of MLB players that have and had the pleasure of growing up at the ball park because there dad’s played the game and that is all well and good, that MLB fathers and sons had an opportunity to be together at the ball park on occasion. As I stated, I completely understand that baseball is a so called family game and a family supported entity but you have to ask yourself has baseball historically demonstrated that it has been a family game. The answer has to be no, for those us who remember it was not that long ago that racism was an open and accepted part of the game, prior to the 1940’s baseball excluded black and Latin players from MLB and its minor league system. According to an article written in October 2015 by Dirk Hayhurst Racism in Baseball isn’t going anywhere https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/racism-in-baseball-isnt-going-anywhere
Was it a family game when players indulged in drugs and in some cases did so in the club house, one of the popular drugs of choice for many players was a drug called speed, which by some player accounts was openly available to players in the locker room.
Let’s continue on; was it a family game when players used performance enhancing drugs prior to and now that MLB has a drug policy in place; one that did not come about until 2004, well after the home run contest between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, where McGwire hit 72 home runs and admitted later to using steroids and human growth hormone. With all that I have mentioned and described it is apparent that change has come to MLB but there still remains the question as to how much of a family game is MLB today.
I guess it could be said that no sport league is family oriented because they face the same problems that I have mentioned concerning Major League Baseball. We do know that sport mirrors society.
Fred Cromartie, Ed. D.
Dr. Cromartie is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.