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It's The 5 Year Anniversary Of The Adam And Drake LaRoche Saga, And Dan Hayes Did An Awesome Deep Dive On That Shit Show Of A Summer

(The Athletic)

It was five years ago this week when LaRoche’s father, Adam, abruptly retired from the White Sox and abandoned his salary of $13 million. This was the defining act of a showdown between a highly respected veteran — who insisted that his son become a fixture in the clubhouse — and a club executive in Ken Williams responding to those within the clubhouse who believed that “Take Your Kid to Work Day” should not be every day. The controversy that followed would serve as fodder for national morning news shows, trigger a debate about children in the workplace, and roil a clubhouse that ultimately unraveled.

If you're a Sox fan, there's two ways to look at this article, which Dan Hayes took 5 months to gather quotes, interviews, and inside scoops to construct. It is behind a paywall so I'm going to do my best not to give too much away but it was a GREAT throwback to 5 years ago when the White Sox were a complete laughingstock:

1. Read it in disgust as it was the most embarrassing season of White Sox baseball in most of our lifetimes and
2. Read it and laugh at how great the clubhouse culture currently is and how quickly Hahn and Co. flipped it from laughingstock to a team that could very well win the pennant in 2021

I choose to roll with #2. The clubhouse now - lead by TA, Abreu, Gio, Hendricks, and others - is as tight knit as tight knit can be and they are incredibly easy to root for. At the same time though.... any time the 2016 team is brought up, a cold shudder travels down my spine. What a disaster that season was, and not just from a W/L standpoint. It was a national embarrassment. It started with the Adam and Drake Laroche saga and just a few months later Chris Sale took garden sheers to those stupid fucking untucked jerseys: 

But prior to his clubhouse tirade and subsequent suspension, Chris Sale also called for Executive VP Kenny Williams' head:

Sale, who was suspended later that season in July for destruction of team property, said Williams “bold-faced lied” to the team and later added: “Somebody walked out the doors the other day and it was the wrong guy.”

That takes BALLS to do. Sale was dealt to Boston the subsequent offseason and the White Sox rebuild commenced - but holy shit was that last "go for it" year an embarrassment. Have I said that yet? Because it was. Around that time, Barstool really started to take off. It went from a decently popular blog that was city specific to what it is today, a media powerhouse, and I was the one "covering" the White Sox at the time. I was at the game where Sale cut up the jerseys and when fans found out he he was "scratched", we thought he was dealt. I remember asking my "source" if he had gotten traded and he said, "no man… we don't want this one getting out."

Well, it got out. Sale just cut up the stupid fucking jerseys they were instructed to wear. Holy shit what an embarrassment. I felt FIRST hand embarrassment as a fan of the team and one who was paid $250 a month to cover them at the time. 

Look, I've dealt with a lot of losing. I've dealt with every single "nobody gives a shit about the White Sox" comment on the internet, and truthfully, I kinda understand the latter. I fully acknowledge that they're the second most popular team in a big market that has done nothing but lose for a long time. Someone told me the other day that no other team lost as much as the White Sox did in the 2010-20 decade. I don't care to look it up because they'e awesome now, but it sounds about right. They STUNK. But they also were still endearing to their diehards. That was OUR pile of shit. Nobody else's… and in spite of a ton of losing, we stuck by them through thick and thin. 

But that summer was the first time I've ever been embarrassed as a fan and it had nothing to do with the wins and losses. As fans, we hate that the White Sox don't get more national notoriety. ESPN has completely neglected the Sox to the point where they forgot 2005 happened. The Cubs got almost 100% of the media love in Chicago, and rightfully so. NOBODY GAVE A SHIT ABOUT THE WHITE SOX…. other than when stupid, embarrassing shit was going down in their locker room. It was a mutiny and I wasn't sure they'd ever dig themselves out of it. 

They're good now though. Realllllly fucking good. They're making waves on a national level and I those (really) bad years, as have most Sox fans, so taking the drive down memory lane just reinforces my love for this current roster and it's off the field makeup. They are cooking with GAS these days. Everyone is in lock step with each other, from the FO to the 26th man on the roster, and these guys are ready for war. It's going to be like this for the foreseeable future and because of that, I now have an appreciation for that 2016 team after reading Hayes' article. If not for that season, they might not have ever blown it up. There's a good shot they'd still be "mired in mediocrity" as Rick Hahn so eloquently put it that summer. 

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Go read the article. Spend the couple of bucks on The Athletic because they do shit nobody else does, and no, they're not a competitor. They're an outlet myself and many other contributors at Barstool use to gather quotes and stories like the one that's referenced in this blog. Hayes spent 5 months constructing this investigative piece on what went down in that dog shit 2016 season and it's well worth the read because it's written extremely well and it serves as a reminder for how good we have it on the south side in 2021. Nobody at Barstool (or anywhere else) is writing like this anymore. 

Speaking of 2021… we have 16 (!!!) days until the Chicago White Sox open the season against the Angels on ESPN. There's not a shot in HELL the Sox would have been considered for a nationally broadcasted game at any point in the 2010-20 decade, nor should they have been. Now they're the first nationally televised game of the year. Oh how the times have changed. I'm so fucking pumped. Pray for the goddamn league

PS - I still want to know who ratted on Drake to KW. It makes too much for it not to be Jimmy Rollins though. I'd almost guarantee it was him. Seasoned, no bulllshit vet… yeah it was Rollins.