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Andre Ethier flips photographer the bird, and it's a mini-Internet sensation

May 19, 2011 |  6:35 pm

Andre3 Ah, the age of the Internet. Things happen and the news travels quickly. Good news, bad news, personal news. Also pictures.

Andre Ethier is about as savvy on new media as any Dodger on the club.

Which clearly means, he should have known better than most how his "incident" would play out, not to mention just known better.

Ethier made a silly, childish mistake Monday, when irritated with a photographer during pregame batting practice, he flipped him the bird. Actually, he then slipped his bat under his left arm and gave the double salute.

Naturally, these photos eventually made their way to the Internet, which quickly made Ethier the Dodgers’ topic de jour.

Ethier met with reporters Thursday before the Giants game, and though he did eventually apologize, to say he was contrite would be stretching things.

He spent the first few minutes with reporters trying to make light of it.

"They really weren’t supposed to release this photo shoot yet," Ethier said. "It was an inspirational piece and they asked me what I thought of Dylan Hernandez at the time. It was based on the L.A. Times beat reporters.

"Steve [Dilbeck]’s photos haven’t come out yet. I was hoping T.J. [Simers] would be here. I have them on my phone, the rest of the photos. It’s kind of a theme piece. They were supposed to be intimate. I thought the photographer was going to wait for my OK to release it, but obviously they were very excited to get the images out."

This line of conversation went on for some time, too long really, and when pressed, Ethier kept trying to have it both ways.

Was he ticked at that moment: "I wasn’t [angry] at all. If you’re going to stand there and take the same picture for 15 minutes, what’s the difference between the first and the 15th minute? It just got kind of annoying. I guess I slipped up, and that temper you guys sometimes like to write about, got ahead of me and I didn’t use my head and use the best judgment in that situation. I made a mistake of it and it’s unfortunate."

Was he sorry: "I’m sorry. It’s a dumb incident. Obviously it’s an age when someone can’t wait to plug their flash drive in their computer and get their 15 minutes of fame off of something and try to make a name for themselves. Obviously this is what this person is about. You have to always watch your guard and watch who you’re dealing with out there."

Or just be a tad smarter, like Ethier the would-be team leader should have been.

This is hardly the worst thing to happen to the Dodgers this season -- it wouldn’t even make the top 10 -- but it is embarrassing. Still, even though Major League Baseball is aware of the photos, it’s hard to imagine there being some serious punishment, if any at all.

"We’ll talk to the appropriate individuals,"said MLB spokesman Pat Courtney. "We’ll see where we are after we talk to everybody."

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said he had already spoken to Ethier, and he and General Manager Ned Colletti would probably meet with him again this weekend in Chicago. Expected message: Be smarter.

"It’s something we don’t condone,"Mattingly said. "I’m not going to sit here and say it’s OK and try to make any excuses for it."


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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Andre Ethier smiles during batting practice on Wednesday. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire