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In the clutch, Dodgers' Andre Ethier stands alone -- sort of like a logo

Can we just change the Major League Baseball logo to an outline of Andre Ethier right now?

If the NBA logo is a silhouette of "Mr. Clutch" Jerry West, then MLB’s has to be of Ethier.

It’s almost getting ridiculous the way Ethier delivers with the game on the line. They write songs about guys like this. They make movies in which stadium lights explode.

He was at it again Thursday night. The Dodgers’ game with the Brewers was tied 3-3 with one out and the bases loaded when Ethier walked to the plate.

The Brewers should have Tasered him right there. Should have just walked off the field and saved themselves having to suffer the dramatics.

Every single person in Dodger Stadium knew exactly what was going to happen. Joe Torre, in his 29th season as a major-league manager, had seen it all before.

"I’ve managed some pretty good players, but the opportunities he’s had and as many times as he’s done it, I don’t remember anybody being as heroic as he’s been," Torre said.

Ethier might as well have come to the plate wearing a red cape and with a giant "S" across the front of his jersey. Milwaukee reliever LaTroy Hawkins instantly knew the jig was up when he walked Matt Kemp to load the bases.

"I don’t know what it is, for some damn reason I keep getting up there in that situation," Ethier said. "I can’t figure it out. I don’t know who else has that many opportunities to win games like that."

There’s getting up in those situations, and then there is delivering. Nobody has delivered like Ethier for the last few years.

Ethier could see it all unfold has he stood in the on-deck circle: Kemp working the count, the crowd recognizing the building moment, rising to its feet, the anticipation rising."

"The hairs stand up on your neck a little because you can feel the energy, you can feel the excitement in those situations," Ethier said.

Hawkins fell behind 2-0 and then threw a high fastball Ethier chased and missed.

"I was awful in those situations in the beginning of not just my pro career but in college and high school," Ethier said. "I had a tendency to press too much. I think you saw a glimpse of that tonight where on a 2-0 pitch I chased ball three up in the zone. But I definitely was able to recover and calm back down."

Yeah, you could say that. With the infield in and the outfield playing up, it was an optimal situation for a hitter. A bouncer through the hole, a fly ball of any distance, a little single, and the winning run is scored.

Only this being Ethier, any of that would have seemed almost mundane. He crushed a 2-2 Hawkins’ pitch to straight-away center. Instantly everyone knew the game was over. Milwaukee center fielder Jim Edmonds simply turned toward the fence to see how far it would fly.

Of course, the ball didn’t just land over his head for a hit or simply fall on the warning track. It kept going, clearing the fence for a walk-off grand slam. The crowd exploded.

It was the 11th walk-off hit and sixth walk-off homer of Ethier’s four-year career. He had six walk-off hits last season alone.

Cool as can be. Like the serial killer whose heart rate never rises during the crime. Only his crime is committed against opposing teams throughout baseball. Pressure baseball, a warm embrace.

"I enjoy it," Ethier said. "I want to go up there in that situation. I’m excited to get up there and do it. I want to end the game right there."

Take the photo, film it in high contrast, trim the outline, splash it with red, white and blue, and set the logo. Andre Ethier, baseball’s Mr. Clutch.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (12)

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one of greatest trades in dodger history, getting ethier from A's, for milton bradley

Ethier is the man!!Dodger fans can feel confident when Andre is batting in these situations.I found it interesting how Andre looked subdued after his grand slam winning homer.Perhaps he is getting use to this, or maybe he understands that there are more issues to repair, before they start start having parades over walk offs.

exciting to be sure / pure Hollywood!
but here's the real "take-away" from this game.
There would have been less drama if Broxton had simply closed out the game in the ninth.
Sadly, he fail to collect what would have been JUST his second save and took a win away from the youngster Ely.

Nice story, you could have stopped beating around the bush and shortened your story by half Steve.... Seriously, sometimes people get a little too excited...

DATE: MAY 7, 2010

Where do I sign to second this proposal?

What can you say about Dre?!? He has to be the starting RF in the All-Star game!
Nice to see Kemp back where he belongs in the two hole. Sorry to see XPaul leave so soon. I think he was under used by Joe.

Great Story Steve. You nailed it, Ethier for sure is the Mr. Clutch of our sport - maybe someday he'll make a great owner of a baseball team too. I like Dre's new nickname, "Captain Clutch" as some fans have been calling him this season.

Not only is Dre walking off wins for the Dodgers (too bad they are necessary in games we should have won on reliable pitching alone) but he is now the leading candidate for starting CF All-Star in the NL and believe it or not maybe winning the Triple Crown/MVP award come end of season.

I hate to call it out so early (knock on wood) but what else can you say when looking at #16's stats? Ethier is now leading the NL in HR's (10), RBI's (30), AVG (.371), SLG (.722) and Total Bases (70)?!?!? Compared to last season, he is only striking out at half the rate with 11 SO"'s through 97 AB's... INSANE stats at the plate!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...Ethier is the best hitter on the team (sorry Kemp, sorry, I'm not really sorry). He's matured since coming to the Dodgers and has become a much more disciplined hitter. And yes, he does have a knack of coming through in the clutch...that's what good hitters do...most of the time, anyway.

ethier is the man on this team, no doubt about it. but lost in ethier's fireworks at the end of the game was xavier paul's clutch performance on the field and at the plate. he made a great grab in the corner early in the game, had a SB, clutch double RBI. i wish he'd stick around even after manny comes back. how much longer do we have to put up with garret anderson's old bat?


the journey 'e' has ne'er led the NL in any stat category whence the final tote was tut... this 'season the dead dudgers' will end no differently. 'e' pitomizes the team with the lead 1st quarter, the one ahead 7th inning, one in front nee frontrunner start the second period - 'e' is to make comparison the 1948 election, nominated afore and soon forgotten aft... a Dewey sans the hooey.

a journeyman 'e' be, a journ'e'yman willst always be...

I think the idea that Ethier pulls off these moments simply because he "keeps coming up in these situations" is silly. Three guys came up to bat before he did in the 9th, each with a chance to win the game. No, it's not the situations, it's the player. The only unfortunate thing about Ethier is that for the first two years of his major league career he only played part-time while some of us were yelling at the TV: "Look at that swing! Play him!!!"

I think the reason that Ethier is such a good hitter is that he has a doubles swing but with homer power. In other words, he has the ability to get lots of hits and also hit a lot of those out. For example, even on his game-winning HR against the Brewers--at first Vin Scully blew the call somewhat saying it had been a ground rule double rather than a HR. But I could understand why: it looked like a line drive, not a HR.

Also, if you review the list of top RBI hitters (Ethier's #1 in the NL), Ethier has the lowest number of strike outs (by far) until you get to #17, with whom he is tied at only 11. To me, this indicates that rare combination of hand-eye coordination and power.

No, it's not luck, it's Ethier. The only question is: how do we retrieve those two seasons when he should have been playing full time but wasn't?


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