09/05/2008 11:09 AM ET
Andre Ethier: Converting hometown fans
Arizona native getting used to competing against D-backs
I was born and raised in Arizona, and my family had season tickets for the Diamondbacks for years, so it's a little weird to be in a race against them now for the NL West title.
All of my friends and family back home root for the Diamondbacks -- except when I'm playing them. I've slowly but surely been trying to convert them to Dodgers fans the last couple of years, and I'm beginning to see some progress. They're starting to jump on board with my team, and when we play in Arizona, they cheer against the Diamondbacks.
Whichever team wins, though, they're usually happy, I guess. Let's say they have a lot of interest in both teams.
I grew up a big D-backs fan. We had season tickets as a family up until a few years ago. I remember 1998, the first year of the franchise's existence, very well. I went to high school two miles away from what is now called Chase Field. Even though they haven't been around as long as some other franchises, I did grow up on Diamondbacks baseball.
The highlight came when they won the World Series in 2001 against the Yankees. I was at Game 7. I was thrilled to get a chance to go and to be a small part of it. Arizona needed a major championship in some sport, and that was the first one ever in the state of Arizona. It really enhanced the community.
Now, of course, I'm happy to be on one of their rivals.
When we go to Phoenix, I leave tickets for friends and family, but I don't watch too closely as to what team they're rooting for in the stands. I'm just glad to have them there and to see them.
It's like a big family reunion every time I go there. They don't get a chance to see me very often, and in the offseason, I'm busy trying to get myself back in order and spending time with immediate family. So, it's fun to come into Phoenix during the season and catch up with everyone.
Sometimes, they do ask for those inside tips or secrets about the game, and I might share a tidbit or two with them, but it's just as important to catch up on what is going on in our personal lives.
Andre Ethier, a rising star for the Dodgers, was born in Phoenix along with six brothers and sisters. The left-handed hitting outfielder has already set a career high in home runs this season with 19.