ADAM LaROCHE SPEAKS with the kind of certainty that makes doubt seem like a disease. He can make his argument, and he can make yours too, talking his way through every side of a story like a guy working a piece of furniture down a tight stairwell: slowly, carefully, occasionally taking a step back to assess his progress.
He’s sitting in a house outside Phoenix, his body across the couch like a flung coat. His wife, Jenn, and 12-year-old daughter, Montana, are out shopping; his 14-year-old son, Drake, is a nearly spectral presence: in the back by the pool, at the kitchen table, upstairs. Adam’s red beard is 3 inches shorter than it was before he retired from baseball nine days earlier. The trim makes him look slightly — only slightly — less like a Civil War cavalryman. He’s a Kansan who speaks with an unhurried drawl that seems to have arrived from points south.
In a few days, he will depart this nice house, with its gourmet kitchen and custom pool on a Stepford-like street of beige stucco, and head out with his family in an RV. They will hit the mountains of Big Bear and then head west and north to the California Redwoods, then Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. He’s thinking about Alaska too. Six weeks? Two months? “We don’t plan anything,” he says. “Heck, we might be gone four months.”
He will not watch baseball or pay attention to the standings. Over his 36 years, he has not rooted for any team in any sport he did not play for. If the fish aren’t biting, he might check in on friends he made through his 12-year big league career. But that’s about it.
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