I'm not crying, you're crying.
Andre Ethier walked into the cramped room of reporters inside the bowels of Dodger Stadium dressed in a black t-shirt and black hat. It was a fitting wardrobe for a man who was embracing "the end."
Huddled in the room were many familiar faces to him: Don Newcombe, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, and longtime teammates Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.
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"I still text them all the time," Ethier said of his teammates gathered around the room filled with friends, family, reporters, and cameras.
Everyone had assembled for him. More than 12 years after his Dodger debut on May 2, 2006 in his hometown of Phoenix, Ethier was here to say goodbye to his other home: Los Angeles.
"It's flattering, it's humbling to have all this fuss for a guy that's just another player in a long line of great Dodgers to walk these hallways and put this uniform on," Ethier said of the maelstrom the team had put together on Friday night in his honor. "It means a lot to me."
Ethier is a legend in the Los Angeles sports community. In eight of his 12 seasons, the Dodgers made the playoffs. Despite only playing a combined 38 games over the last two seasons, Ethier made the postseason roster in 2016 and 2017, and came up with huge pinch-hit home runs in the National League Championship Series each time.
"I was with Andre for two years," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Unfortunately, he spent a lot of that time injured. But seeing him from the other side, the consistency, the intent, the way he played the game, running balls out, preparing every day. I think the consistency as a professional is something that really stood out."
In Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros—serendipitously, Friday's opponent—Ethier knocked in the game's only run of the game, with a pinch-hit RBI in an eventual 5-1 loss. A series that still haunts the 36-year-old outfielder to this day.
"I close my eyes a lot and I can still see that series and those games on the back side of me eyelids," said Ethier of the World Series. " We all have to face our fears."
After the season, there were reports of Ethier's retirement, but he put the rumors to bed, by saying he still wanted to play. The free agent prepared for the 2018 season until the start of spring training, but the phone never rang, so he put down the bat and ball and picked up his bag of golf clubs and a tennis racket.
"I would love to be out there playing," said Ethier. "I mean if Joc [Pederson], can get a hit, I can get a hit. That's how I look like it."
One of Ethier's longtime teammates, a player that came up in the organization with him, Matt Kemp, was sitting on the ground in front of Ethier during the press conference, going live on his Instagram account as he visited with Ethier's family.
"If he's [Kemp] in a uniform why can't I be," Ethier joked about his friend. "The way they were talking in spring training, I thought he was going to be next to me. If there was one thing I would want to do again, it would definitely be to play one more game with Matt [Kemp]."
After the press conference, Ethier was given a pregame retirement ceremony on the field that was hosted by actor Jason Bateman. The ceremony consisted of video tributes from former manager Joe Torre, general manager Ned Colleti, as well as former teammates; Dustin Pedroia (Arizona State), Russell Martin, and Charlie Culberson.
The best part of the pregame ceremony was easily the five-minute and 14-second tribute video the Dodgers played for Ethier on the in-stadium videoboard. For your convenience, the video is available above. If you’re a Dodger fan and it doesn't give you goosebumps, we're not sure what will.
The entire pregame ceremony can be seen in its entirety in the video below, but the Ethier part, hosted by Bateman, starts at the 26:20 mark.