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Is Baseball's Adam LaRoche at the Head of a New Wave of Dads?

After being discouraged from bringing his son into the clubhouse, the Chicago White Sox designated hitter opted to retire from the major leagues.

Image: Chicago White Sox Photo Day :: 2016 Getty Images | 2016 Getty Images
Infielder Adam LaRoche #25 of the Chicago White Sox poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 27, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images
Infielder Adam LaRoche #25 of the Chicago White Sox poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 27, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images

Adam LaRoche isn't the only professional putting his children first these days.

After being discouraged from bringing his son into the clubhouse so frequently, the Chicago White Sox designated hitter opted to retire from the major leagues. He was set to earn $13 million this season in the second year of a $25 million contract, according to published reports. Instead, he tweeted out his goodbye to the game with the hashtag #familyfirst.

Yet even before that tweet, the family first mindset was trending well beyond the world of Twitter.

Recent research shows that men increasingly are more inclined to make sacrifices at work for the sake of work-life balance, or even dial back their careers altogether.

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For starters, men are spending more time with their children while they are young. A study by the Families and Work Institute found that women still spend more time per workday caring for children, and their time increased from 3.8 hours in 1977 to four hours in 2008 — but over the same time period, men increased their hours from 2 to 3.1.

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Adam LaRoche's retirement draws protest from some fellow players

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Over half, or 58 percent, of millennial dads said they place family before work all or most of the time, according to another report by BabyCenter.

"It's very representative of this generation of dads that really have family as a top priority in their lives, and are not as caught up with climbing the ladder," said Linda Murray, BabyCenter's global editor-in-chief.

Not only are both parents more likely to be working these days, but there's a different mindset about sharing the childcare responsibilities, Murray said.

"Dads are handling carpool schedules, coordinating play dates, shopping, preparing meals — there's been a sea change here," she said.

"Beyond providing financial support, dads say being there for their family is more important."

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About two-thirds of millennial dads said they changed jobs or said they would consider doing so to better manage work and family, compared with 57 percent of women, according to a separate study by accounting firm Ernst & Young. Men also indicated more willingness to give up a promotion, relocate, take a paycut, or even move to another country.

"Men do want to participate in their kid's lives," said Maryella Gockel, EY's America's flexibility leader, and "many, many companies are beginning to figure that out."

Gockel added that EY is also doing their part to ensure they don't alienate dads like LaRoche.

"While EY does not have a formal policy around bringing children into the office, we have built and fostered a flexible work culture that allows our people to work remotely in order to handle personal and family matters," she said.

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