One thing I’ve always said I like about this job is the fact that you come to the ballpark and have no idea what you might see or what might happen on any given day. I appreciate the absence of monotony.
But over the past year, those you-never-know-what-you’ll-get developments have included seeing plenty of players come and go, saying plenty of goodbyes, and introducing myself to plenty of new faces. So goes the job of a Pirates beat writer, I guess…
However, I felt like I would be remiss not to mention here what a pleasure it was dealing with Adam LaRoche on a daily basis. I know (trust me, I received all your emails) that he wasn’t the most loved guy around. Some were frustrated by a perceived lack of passion and emotion. Some were frustrated by his slow-start tendencies. And some were just downright disapppointed that he wasn’t the savior that he had been built up to be back in January 2007 when the Pirates acquired him from Atlanta.
And on all of those accounts, yes, you certainly had the right to be.
One thing, though, that upon his departure should be made clear: LaRoche had as much passion for the game as anyone else in the clubhous and was more frustrated than any of you during his slumps. He simply did not wear all of that on his sleeve. I had the pleasure of also covering him in Atlanta before he came here, and when it came to dealing with players, there was none better than LaRoche.
He was a consummate professional, always accomodating to the media even when things weren’t going right and one of those players who you could tell cared about you as a person. In fact, after I jokingly asked him in Spring Training to keep me accountable on my workout regimen, I never expected him to do so on a weekly basis. But he did. And genuinely so. That’s the type of guy he was.
How will he fare in Boston? I obviously don’t know. Maybe without the pressure of being one of the guys, he’ll be able to relax and his production will follow. Or maybe what we saw in Pittsburgh is who he is. But regardless, the Red Sox are getting — in my opinion — one of the best professionals in the business.
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