12/24/08 10:00 AM EST
Christmas has new meaning for Ethier
Dodgers outfielder to experience holiday for first time as father
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Ethier and his wife, Maggie, still make their offseason home in their native Arizona and remain close to their immediate families.
The 26-year-old is coming off a season in which he was the club's nominee for the Hank Aaron Award, setting career highs with a .305 average, 160 hits, 38 doubles, 20 homers, 77 RBIs, 90 runs, a .375 on-base percentage and .510 slugging percentage.
Recently, the Dodgers outfielder shared some of his Christmas experiences in an interview with MLB.com.
MLB.com: What is a typical Christmas morning like for the Ethiers?
Ethier: I remember what it was like getting excited in the morning and running over to the tree to see what gifts we got. It's still a special feeling, but this will be our first as parents, so it will be different and special this time.
MLB.com: How much do the holidays change now that you are a dad?
Ethier: I'm sure it will really sink in when he's 3 or 4. He's only going to be 3 months old, so he won't really be able to appreciate what's going on. It'll still be memorable for Mom and Dad because we'll remember watching him at his first Christmas.
MLB.com: When you were growing up, what were your holidays like?
Ethier: They were hectic. My whole family lives in the Phoenix area, so we'd open presents at our house in the morning, then hit each set of grandparents' houses in the afternoon. I remember opening some gifts and showing off to the cousins. I like to relive those memories.
MLB.com: Did you have anything special set for Christmas Eve?
Ethier: We used to travel a little or go out with friends, but things have changed with our new addition, so we'll be staying around the house. We're planning a family potluck dinner, so everybody will bring their favorite food to our house -- salsa, hot wings. It'll be a big buffet and gift exchange.
MLB.com: Looking back, were there any favorite gifts that really stood out when you were a kid?
Ethier: I always wanted a remote-control car. I got a couple of them, but they were the cheap kind. Then I finally got a nice one, the real deal, one that lasted more than a couple weeks. It was high quality. I'll tell you how much I loved that car. A couple years ago, I saw my dad still had it in my old bedroom.
MLB.com: Do you have any favorite Christmas or holiday music?
Ethier: You can't go wrong with James Taylor Christmas music.
MLB.com: What's your favorite Christmas meal?
Ethier: HoneyBaked Ham.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.