Green excited about playing in front of Jewish fans in New York

Updated: August 24, 2006, 12:30 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Shawn Green is looking forward to playing in front of the large population of Jewish fans in New York.

Traded Tuesday to the Mets by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the outfielder planned to be at Shea Stadium on Thursday for New York's series finale against St. Louis. The Mets haven't had a prominent Jewish player since Art Shamsky in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"I'm excited about it. It's something that has always intrigued me," Green said Wednesday during a conference call. "Playing in L.A., there's obviously a large population there, but New York is head and shoulders the largest in the country."

New York's Jewish population was about 1.75 million in the 2000 census, followed by Miami at roughly 535,000 and Los Angeles at approximately 490,000. The figures are for metropolitan areas.

In 2004, Green sat out a pennant race game for the Los Angeles Dodgers in observance of Kol Nidre, the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. He played the following day while Yom Kippur was concluding.

In 2001, he observed Yom Kippur and ended a streak of 415 consecutive games played.

"It's definitely something that will be an interesting experience for me, a fun experience," Green said of coming to New York. "I'm looking forward to being a part of the Jewish community there."

Arizona dealt the 33-year-old Green to New York along with $6,312,156 for Evan MacLane, a 23-year-old left-hander at Triple-A. Green has $13,248,634 remaining on his contract.

A two-time All-Star, Green is hitting .283 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs. He waived his no-trade clause to accept the trade.

"I just talked about it a lot with my wife, and we both felt like there's a lot of positives coming there," Green said during the conference call from the Phoenix area. "We both enjoyed coming to New York the times I've played there for a few days."

He figures to cut into the playing time of Lastings Milledge and Ricky Ledee in right. Endy Chavez has filled in as the left fielder while Cliff Floyd is sidelined with an Achilles' tendon injury.

Green said watching the Mets earlier this season, he concluded New York had "this intangible." He has played previously with several Mets, including Carlos Delgado, Orlando Hernandez, Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota, Duaner Sanchez and Chris Woodward.

"They have this quiet confidence and have fun and energy," he said. "You see that in teams that go far into the playoffs and win world championships. I think a lot of people in baseball have been looking at the Mets as a team that has that characteristic."

He said the possible trade, which had been rumored for weeks, had weighed on him.

"In my gut I guess I thought it was going to happen," he said. "But it was seeming like at any time it could fall apart. Especially with some of the pitching injuries that the Mets had, I assumed that I wouldn't be as high on the priority list at that point, but fortunately it sounds like both Pedro (Martinez) and (Tom) Glavine are in good shape."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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