Here's your weekly "boss-is-a-d*ck"/#mydadisabro/family-above-all-else story of the day. David Roth, a car salesman at Steve White Volkswagens and Audis in Greenville, South Carolina, wanted to watch his son, Michael Roth, on the mound for the South Carolina Gamecocks in the College World Series this past weekend. However, he had a problem. He used up all of his vacation days. He couldn't get time off. Putting family first, he quit his job, headed to TD Ameritrade Park in Ohama, Nebraska, and watched his boy pitch 7-1/3 innings against Texas A&M on Father's Day. The Gamcocks won 5-4 with Scott Wingo's bases loaded walk-off single.
Michael Roth, who was drafted earlier this month in the 31st round of the 2011 MLB Draft as the No. 938 overall pick by the Cleveland Indians, announced the move on Saturday via Twitter:
Here's what his proud son had to say, via:
"Obviously, it was pretty special considering it was Father's Day yesterday," [Michael Roth] said Monday. "I'm glad that he's here. It's been pretty cool having my family here. [...]
"My dad's been a huge inspiration for baseball for me," he said. "It's definitely nice to have him out here."
His Dad even gave him some advice before the start against the Aggies. Via:
“He was like, ‘The past couple of games you've given up some runs in the first inning. Don't keep doing that,' ” Michael said.
And Gamecocks coach Roy Tanner had nothing but kind things to say about the risky move:
“It had to be just a great feeling for both of them,” Tanner said. “Michael enjoys spending a lot of time with his family, and it meant a lot to him to have them in the stands.”
Of course, a few soulless individuals are saying his career martyr-dom for a touching family moment is a stupid move, especially in such a dismal job market. We don't know the back-story about his relationship with his employer or why all his vacation days were eaten up. If it was something as frivolous as a fishing trip or a Vegas bender, of course the world would be slightly less empathetic. We might never know (Michael and David have both since declined interviews, including with ESPN). But, I don't see any reason why David Roth should have stayed home and worked while his son pitched the biggest game of his college career. Obviously he felt he was in a secure-enough place financially to walk away for whatever reason. I think the hospital bed reference in this comment from the Yahoo comment section puts things in perspective (there are over 1500 comments on the story; sorry for not mining for a more articulate one):
Was it careless, reckless, or irresponsible? That's up for debate. Depends on what your priorities are. Some things in life are just more important than moving 2011 R6s off a lot. On Father's Day. Remember, Michael's dad is a car salesman, not an ER doctor who's walking away from a patient mid-heart attack. Or a soilder deserting a battlefield. Or, heck, even a waitress walking off the job mid-shift when a restaurant is slammed (I've witnessed debacles like that happen before; It sucks for everyone involved). And, realistically, how many cars do you think he would have moved in this time period?
Judging by all the negative publicity generated by the dick boss at Steve White Volkswagens and Audis, we're going to guess Mr. Roth will either be (a) reinstated to save face, or (b) hired by a crosstown rival car dealership to spite their competitor with a local celebrity who truly put family first. I'm really gunning hard that some local dealership will scoop this guy up. And we hope he lands on his feet like that, because that's the American way, baby!
But, what do you think? Personally, I think it's an epic, downright touching move on the Dad's part. Clearly he considered the accomplishments of his kid a bigger priority than whatever he had to deal with on the car lot. That's about as selfless as it gets. As Brocrastinator pointed out, the saga is vaguely familiar to what happened with the dad who was working all the time in "Little Giants" but shows up half-way through the game. The whole ordeal opens up a huge floor for discussion about the sometimes blurry line between responsiblity and work ethic and family obligations and sports in modern America. Total "My Dad is a Bro" move or stupid on the Mr. Roth's part? Sound Off in the comments.
Update @ 3:47. Michael Roth just tweeted this out and it probably should be said: