By mid-May of ’97, Cito finally won out over the front office regarding my playing time. Suddenly, my career prospects were slipping away as I was forced to sit day after day in the dugout watching all the games from the so-called best seat in the house.Bless you, Shawn Green. Bless your precious heart.
After weeks of frustration, I met with general manager Gord Ash and asked him to trade me so I could play somewhere, anywhere. A week or two passed, and every day new trade rumors with my name attached floated around the league until at last Cito had to address it.
It was midafternoon at the Toronto SkyDome, four hours before a night game against the Yankees. I’d put on my uniform and was walking past Cito’s open office door when he called, “Hey, Green, come in here and have a seat. I want to talk to you.”
My heart thumped as I approached my boss’s desk and sat down.
“Look, Shawn, don’t think that I don’t like you, ’cause I do,” Cito said. “I think you have a lot of potential, but …” He stopped, considering, maybe searching out a rationale for benching me. “You need to improve your defense. No manager is going to chance it with you the way you play in the field.”
I began to squirm in my seat. My first couple of years I’d played scared in right field because, each time I erred, I couldn’t help focusing on the irritation on Cito’s face. Still, my defense was improving (within two years I’d win the league’s Gold Glove Award, though obviously I didn’t possess this evidence for the defense at the time).
“Also, Shawn, you need to learn how to pull the ball to hit more home runs because you don’t run well enough to steal bases,” Cito continued.
“How do you know I can’t steal bases if you never give me the green light to try?” I snapped. “And as for pulling the ball, I know how to turn on the inside pitch.”
For a left-handed-batter, pulling the ball means connecting with the pitch early and hitting to right field, increasing the chance of a home run. There was nothing I liked more than pulling the ball with power, but I knew that limiting myself to being a dead-pull hitter would reduce my productivity.
Cito wasn’t having it. “You can go on your way, Shawn. The meeting’s over.”
Friday, June 10, 2011
I Knew I Loved Shawn Green for a Reason
An except of Shawn Green's new (batshit crazy) book on Zen and baseball or some such crap. (courtesy of Amazon.)
Labels: Shawn Green