“This is a team that was not going to go out and practice,” Ravech said Thursday on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” as transcribed by Business Insider. “And furthermore, this was a team that ultimately said to the manager ‘we’re not going to go out and play in that game at 1:00.’ You had a team that was willing to stand by the player and not participate in practice, and more so, not participate in an exhibition game.”
The main issue, Ravech said, was Williams’s attempt to control what goes on in the clubhouse, where the rules usually are set by the players and coaches, not front-office officials.
“The decision by Kenny to limit the amount of time that a child can be in that clubhouse didn’t sit well with the players,” Ravech said. “I think now we have set up in Chicago a situation where managers and players are universally, universally in the same corner and president and GM perhaps could be very much in a different corner and the separation needs to be in place.”
Ravech said Chicago Manager Robin Ventura had to talk the players out of boycotting.
When you look at Williams’s past comments, it’s probably not surprising that he was looking to eliminate what he saw as a distraction in the Chicago clubhouse.
“I prefer to talk more on the level of intensity on a day-to-day basis, that grind,” Williams told the Chicago Tribune before the start of spring training in 2015. “Whenever we’ve had teams that understand that (grind), we’ve been in the mix. … We purposely went out and got those types that really want it. If you don’t have (them), nothing else matters.”
But, and this seems at least a little weird, Williams also appears to be happy that his players rallied around LaRoche because of an unpopular edict Williams handed down.
“One thing with regards to this that I really have felt really good about is we felt that they were banding together,” Williams said, per CSN Chicago. “But the way that they banded together to try to protect this young man and their teammate and everything — I told them, it’s admirable, and I love the bond that’s been created.”
And it appears not everyone was thrilled that a 14-year-old was a constant presence in the clubhouse.