2006-09-08 / Sports

Green Is Enjoying His New Blue And Orange Uniform

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

FLUSHING, NY - Making the decision of coming to the team with the best record in baseball isn't hard thing to do. But Shawn Green had other factors involved besides the "slam dunk from a baseball standpoint" when choosing to waive his no trade clause.

As a good family man, the 33 year-old had to make the decision of uprooting his family from Arizona, so the boss became involved.

"My wife was all for it and that was the key for me," Green said. "She was the one that had to put up with moving and that was the key for me. The baseball opportunity was great and as long as she was excited about it, I was all in."

After that was done, Green was sent to the Mets with a cash for minor league pitcher Evan MacLane on August 23. It's a move he said wouldn't have happened five years ago, but right now, he is ready.

A more mature player, the soft spoken outfielder said he felt he finally had willingness to play in the big market of New York. After years of laid back baseball environments, Green is tackling one of the toughest baseball towns in the league. He said his skin is now thicker, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Yet, in New York, Green will also be called upon by the Jewish Community for speaking events. It's something he is looking forward to, but will wait until after this season before honoring any requests. "I get a lot of stuff," Green said of all the requests, "and the way I have been handling it is this year is that I am getting my routine in the city and will move some stuff to next year and playing by ear."

That's because he has a goal in mind with the Mets: Win a World Series. After only getting to the postseason once in his career in 2004 with the Dodgers, the outfielder will get his chance to shine on the big stage.

What will be starring, though, is a different player than the National League saw in recent years. After being one of the better power hitters in the league, Green decided to shorten up his swing and shoot for consistency this season.

"For me, hitting never came never easy and I always had my ups and downs," he said. "Even in 2002, when I hit 42 home runs, I had three months when I hot 10 plus and three months where I hit around three. I was always very streaky, so I was trying to get away from the really dry spells. I shortened things up, rather than going for the home runs."

For most of the season, Green's average was over .300, but has hit only 11 home runs. In his first 11 games as a Met, he hit only .179, which he attributed to the trade and adjustments that came with it.

Yet, because Green was a teammate of Carlos Delgado in Toronto and had hitting coach Rick Down in Los Angeles, he was able to quickly work on the timing of his swing. Over the weekend in Houston, the three were in the batting cages together, along with Julio Franco and Green worked on what he called a "toe tap."

"My stride and timing were a little late so I changed some things," said Green. "Hopefully, it's something that will stay. I felt much better [on Wednesday]. I was frustrated last week not getting hits and not having the kind of at-bats I wanted to have. If the timing's right, the power's there."

Six hits, four runs scored, three RBI and two home runs in the Mets doubleheader sweep of the Braves on Wednesday were the result of the work, so maybe Green will heat up for the playoff run. Right now, though, he is just relaxed and is enjoying his position with the Mets.

"If you could pick one lineup in baseball to hit in, this would be it," Green said. "It's got everything: speed, power, guys who have good at-bats and walk, switch hitters. It's as complete a lineup you could ask to be a part of."

It was an easy decision indeed.

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