A Happy Ethier is a Loved Ethier

Although I don’t always agree with everything that journalist Steve Dilbeck writes in his L.A. Times Dodgers blog, I usually do. I have always respected and enjoyed Steve’s work and was honored to finally meet him in person recently through the Dodgers bloggers spot.

I found Dilbeck’s piece this morning on Andre Ethier to be very good, as it (possibly) explains what has been going on between Ethier’s ears for the past couple of seasons; things that have alienated him from fans and even more so the media. Rather than paraphrase Dilbeck’s Andre Ethier’s new world order: The contented ballplayer article, I encourage you to read it for yourself so that you can draw your own opinions and conclusions on what Ethier had to say at his press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

“Things are going to be special here for a long time,” said Andre Ethier at his press conference after signing a 5-year / $85 million contract extension. (Video capture from Dodgers.com)

To be very honest, I am leaning more towards taking Ethier’s comments with a grain of salt rather that simply accepting them as his ‘new word order’ as Dilbeck calls them (and I suspect that Dilbeck does too based on the tongue-in-cheek title of his article). I mean, it’s pretty easy to say exactly what people want to hear when you’ve just been handed $85M (and possibly more). That being said, I have to admit that Andre said exactly what I wanted to hear, especially when he acknowledged his past mistakes and that he has, at times, taken what he has for granted:

“I admit I’ve made a lot of mistakes. There are a lot of things I would have done differently along the way. I guess you only learn as time goes on.

“I’m standing here 30 years old and I’m still putting on a uniform for a living, which is unbelievable. You don’t realize how many times in your career you took that for granted. It’s something I made a point not to do all year, not to take this game for granted. You don’t know how many more years you get to play.”

I have long felt (very long, in fact) that this taking for granted thing is what leads to ugly separations and bitterness between players and their fans and the media – something that Andre has had a knack of doing quite well in recent years. Hopefully this will all change for the better, as Andre has indicated that it will.

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6 Responses to “A Happy Ethier is a Loved Ethier”

  1. lindav says:

    I have felt so far this year that I’m seeing a more mature Ethier. Just last night when a fan got in the way of him catching a foul ball – he smiled and gave the guy the ball. Made me wonder if his reaction would have been different last year. I liked what I saw and hope we see this same Ethier for the next 5-6 years.

  2. Bluenose Dodger says:

    I have no reason to suspect that Andre does not mean what he is saying. Andre has admitted to making mistakes, although he has a ways to go to catch me in that department, and that is always a positive sign. He has expressed gratitude for being able to put on a uniform daily, and a Dodger uniform for quite some time. Why would we think he is being disingenuous, not sincere?

    Do we expect all our players to fit into the neat little mold we want them to, based on our perception of what an athlete should be? Our daily lives should tell us that’s no going to happen.

    I can recall when Matt Kemp was called on the carpet for not being professional, not being a team leader, running the bases like Valdi Guerrero, having his head up his derriere, among other things. Now Matt is adored, one of the best players in the game, a real team leader, fan friendly, matured. That all took time. These are young men and young men do strange things, have moods, are very hard on themselves. They don’t all reach that level of maturity on the same schedule.

    Why shouldn’t Andre be given the same pass as Matt? I know he has a very different personality than Matt. It’s just different, not wrong. Why would we think Andre has not matured? Certainly his play and demeanor this season would suggest he has grown up. As for me, I accept him at his word, and I would suggest that one of the reasons for this new found maturity, not “new world order”, as that expression is demeaning in my opinion, is his relationship with Matt Kemp. I firmly believe, without anecdotal evidence,that Matt has helped Andre to deal with the inevitable failures in baseball. Anyone can handle the successes. How a player deals with the daily failures is a measure of his maturity as a person and as a player. Matt Kemp may well be Andre’s role model at a very young age.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I certainly wasn’t being demeaning of Andre or his contract extension, Bluenose, and I am confused how you came to this conclusion or assumption. My point is (as I suspect was Steve Dilbeck’s) that Ethier has a well documented history (as recently as this past spring training) of dissing the media and occasionally fans. I will be the first to acknowledge that he has been pretty much a model player (well, not counting his rearranging the dugout that one day), but is this the result of a pending lucrative contract extension or is this the new Andre Ethier? I sincerely believe the latter, which is why I said that he said what I wanted to hear (and believe).

      You point out the criticism that Matt Kemp received about his lackluster play but fair to point out that it was warranted – even Matt acknowledged this. Matt grew out of what was clearly immaturity and the rest is history. Whether it is (was) a maturity issue with Andre or not is unknown (but I suspect not), but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and thought that I conveyed this in my post. I indicated that I am taking his comments with a grain of salt because of his history, but I agree that what he is showing this year is a very positive sign. I just hope that it is what we will see for the next 5 or 6 years and not only during his walk year. Again, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  3. Bluenose Dodger says:

    Ron – It was Steve Dilbeck that wrote, “…new world order…”, not you, but you made reference to it and posted the link. That suggested to me it was open to comment. I’m not saying you are demeaning Andre. I am saying the term, “new world order” is demeaning, IMO, as it suggests the world revolves around Andre and is now a different world because he is happy. I think that is the insincere of Steve Dilbeck, or the tongue in cheek as you mentioned.

    I don’t think what Andre said was a series of platitudes. That is, what we want to hear. I am not giving Andre the benefit of the doubt. I am just not doubting his sincerity. I am taking his words at face value. To me saying what we want to hear would be things like: “I am delighted to be a Dodger for the next six years and hopefully longer. I love LA, my family does. This organization has a great history, etc. Maybe he said those things, but he said more. He said what he didn’t have to say. That is, personal things, such as he has made mistakes, which suggests he doesn’t want to repeat them. The first step is the admission of mistakes, publicly. He expressed his gratitude for being able to play the game and perhaps he had taken it for granted, as he indicated he was making a point this year not to take it for granted.
    To me that is a sign of maturity as he is doing it.

    The “grain of salt” confused me as the idiom means to be skeptical of the truth.

  4. CRANBROOK MIKE says:

    I’ll throw this ” taking things for granted” bit in his face when he rejects my request for an autograph next spring;)

  5. bluecrewfam says:

    I will admit .. I was ready to watch Ethier part ways with the Dodgers over the past 2 years. But I have to say I see a “new” Ethier both on the field and in the media today. Is it the contract? Or perhaps the fact that he is healthy and no longer struggling through a “secret” injury ? Whatever it is … I like it! We all make mistakes and if he says he wants to be a Dodger and be a part of the bright future we have ahead of us…I’m more than happy to welcome him with an open mind.

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