Thursday, February 28, 2008

Veteran ballplayer Shawn Green retires...

It's a sad day for baseball, especially for its Jewish fans. Veteran ballplayer Shawn Green has decided to put down his bat and glove, and move on into greener pastures.
Shawn Green anticipated that it would happen. Now it's a done deal.

The right fielder, who played with the New York Mets for the last year and a half and spent parts of 15 seasons in the majors, told The Post yesterday that he has retired.

"I had planned on retiring at the end of this contract," the 35-year-old Green said yesterday in a phone conversation. "If something where I could live at home popped up, then I would have had to take that under consideration. But I still don't know what I would have done."

That decision never really had to be made. The affable Green, a former member of the 30-30 club who once smashed four homers in one game, wrapped up his tenure with the Mets last season. He said yesterday that a bunch of teams then showed interest in him, but he indicated that he simply wasn't willing to be that far from his California home.

"There was some real solid interest from maybe six or seven teams," he said. "A lot of teams were pretty far across the country."

Green, who is building his dream house in Irvine with his family, added, "I wanted to stay here with my family. Not travel around the country anymore. I enjoyed playing a lot. I enjoyed New York. But for me, it was time to be home."

So far, it's unquestionably been the right call.

"I feel great," he said. "I have no regrets obviously up to this point. I'm enjoying my family and being home."

Green, a two-time All-Star and one-time Gold Glove winner, played with the Blue Jays, Dodgers and Diamondbacks before finishing up his career with the Mets. He was an undervalued part of last year's team, hitting .291 (albeit with only 10 homers and 46 RBIs), and for what it's worth, he played well down the stretch, hitting .407 in 59 September at-bats.

Green's best year probably came in 2001 with the Dodgers when he batted .297, ripped 49 homers and drove in 125 runs.
The lefthanded hitter made his debut on September 28, 1993 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Green finishes his car with 328 home runs, 1,070 RBI, 2,003 career hits and a career batting average of .283 There was no doubt that his best years were during the 1998-2002 seasons.

This is an amusing story. During a game in 1999, Al Clark was umpiring, Jesse Levis was behind the plate, and Shawn Green was stepping into the batter's box. All three being Jews, Green says "Hello, yids" causing everyone to laugh and then they proceeded to wish everyone a happy new year as Rosh HaShanah was going to be observed soon. Here's the story from the Slate.
Shawn Green tells the story like this: He's digging in at the plate against the Cleveland Indians. He looks back and notices Jesse Levis catching. Calling balls and strikes is Al Clark. "Hi, Yids," Green says. The men laugh. It's a few days before Rosh Hashana and the three around the plate—star outfielder, opposing catcher, and longtime ump, all Jewish—wish each other a happy new year.

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