|Script has been flipped for Andre Ethier and Dustin Pedroia||08.27.12 at 9:38 pm ET|
DENVER – What was the semi-daily text for Andre Ethier from Dustin Pedroia Monday?
“Take care of Kid Heat.”
The reference was to Josh Beckett’s old nickname as a young fireballer. (Beckett used to possess a jacket that read “Kid Heat” on the back.) But it was perhaps the text Ethier received from Pedroia the previous night that should mean more to followers of the Red Sox.
“He sent me another text last night just saying, ‘Screw it, we’ll find out a way to get back.’ It just shows the confidence and the kind of personality he has,” Ethier said. “Even though it might look a little bit bleak right now, he’s still positive and he still believes he’s the best and he’s on the best team.”
The Dodgers outfielder is one of the reasons Pedroia could claim that he had never been on a losing team in his life up until this season, with the pair teaming up to excel for the Arizona State baseball team.
Since they parted ways on the Tempe campus, Ethier’s string was broken long ago, thanks to a run of subpar Dodgers teams. But now, the tide has turned. While Los Angeles finds themselves flush with talent after its historic trade with the Red Sox, Pedroia’s club is almost exactly where Ethier’s Dodgers were the last few years.
“I think it’s funny that eight months ago we’re sitting in Arizona and I was pretty unsure what direction we were going and what type of team we were going to field. And Dustin was sitting there with Boston and what they had,” said Ethier, who works out with Pedroia in the offseason. “To see it flip-flop here … You hear the saying all the time, that things happen so quick in this game and nothing should surprise you. But this certainly surprised some people.”
Going back a bit further, because of the perceived dire straits the Dodgers had found themselves in (along with the deep pockets of the Red Sox), there were constant rumors from 2009-11 that Ethier would end up in Boston with Pedroia.
But now, with Ethier possessing the six-year, $95.5 million contract he inked at the outset of this season, along with new Dodgers’ ownership commitment to skyrocketing the organization’s payroll, that line of thinking is ancient history.
“It does seem forever ago,” Ethier said of the Red Sox rumors. “It just shows you that being faithful and keeping your nose down and grinding through some of the tough times, good things will happen at the end of it.
“We had a lot of talk with ownership, who said, ‘Hey, just stick it out with us and we’ll make it work.’ And they’ve done it a lot quicker than we thought.”
So while the text messages and conversations with Pedroia will continue, the script has been flipped when it comes to the content.
“It’s just the same,” Ethier said regarding his frequency of communication with Pedroia this season. “He’s always done a good job. … This is the thing I love hanging out with him about: He can always be optimistic and see the good in anything. Whether it be players who are the best in baseball, or guys who are unproven prospects, he’s going to make those guys feel like the best players in the world when they’re on his team and they’re around them. That’s the case now.”
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