"It's the money and the shock value of how much money is being left on the table,'' Griffey said of the fuss over LaRoche's decision to retire and leave a $13 million deal because the White Sox wanted to limit the time his 14-year-old son, Drake, spends in the clubhouse. "People walk away from jobs all the time -- to be closer to home, or some people don't take jobs because of the travel -- but you don't hear about that. Some people quit their jobs to be stay-at-home dads because their kids have problems they need to deal with.
"If it weren't for the money, people wouldn't talk about this. They talk about the money issue. From what people say, the kid is a good kid. You feel bad for him because he's in the spotlight for just wanting to be with his dad.''
I feel bad for the kid, too. And I also feel bad for White Sox vice president Kenny Williams for all the criticism he has taken. But mostly, I wish we could just let go of this and move on to far more important issues, such as whether Griffey's cap will face forward or backward on his Hall of Fame plaque.
Look, LaRoche is a loving father who wants to be with his son. Drake is a kid who wants to be with his father. If they want to spend time together, that's their decision, no matter how much money it costs them.
And on the other side of the issue, the White Sox have every right to set whatever requirements they want for how much time children can spend with their father in the clubhouse, on the field or in the dugout. This is the way it is. Other professions do not allow children in the workplace on a regular basis.
Also, as much fun as being at the ballpark with your dad can be, kids have other things to do.
Eduardo Perez spent time with his father, Tony, a member of Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine," at the stadium -- he even got to sit in the dugout during games -- but says he generally wasn't there until after the school year ended. Mel Stottlemyre Jr. didn't venture into the Yankees clubhouse with his dad that often after spring training. Aaron Boone isn't sure whether he was at the stadium with his father, Bob, for 40 games a year or 80 games but does recall that as he got older, there probably were days he wasn't at the park because he was busy with his own teams and activities.
Griffey says he didn't go to the clubhouse much more than four or five times a year when his father played. He recalls being kicked out of the Yankees dugout once during an early workout when Ken Sr. was with the team because George Steinbrenner didn't want him there -- and that when his father played for the Atlanta Braves in the mid-'80s, then-general manager Bobby Cox didn't allow kids in the clubhouse.
"That's just the way things go,'' Griffey said. "Different places have different rules and you have to accept it and move on. Personally, I think the timing [this late in spring training] is crazy for this. But the organization has the right to do what they want to do and need to do. And [LaRoche] has the right to walk away. There is no right or wrong on this.''
Junior is correct about that. The only wrong here has been all the attention directed toward it. Now the right thing to do is move on to more important matters.
Like whether the Cubs' players' kids will be able to celebrate a World Series in the Wrigley Field clubhouse this October.