I believe this story, which is why I’m linking to it. I’m not sure how much it matters, but I feel it does.
My experience with ballplayers is that they feel very privileged, which major league players are, and protected, which they usually are, that all the inhumanity that falls on them erupts in surprising ways.
Surprising because you can’t predict who is going to blow.
Assuming the facts are right, Ethier was an asshole. I know from watching queues of autograph seekers that ballplayers have good reason to be suspicious of every aspect of them.
I’m don’t have a solution. I guess players who can figure out when they’re being exploited and resist it will do better than those who mindlessly conform. But the player who does best of all is the one who presents a solid facade, gives what’s asked, but can recognize a scheme.
In any case, as fans we’d like ballplayers to be real people. My advice, if you want that, is to go watch Cape Cod League games.
Once they get on treadmill, only the most extraordinary are going to show human characteristics. At last admirable ones.