Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shawn Green Says He'd Play for Israel

Ken Belson, New York Times

June 8, 2011

When Major League Baseball announced last week that Israel would be included in the next World Baseball Classic, it triggered speculation about which current professional players might join the team.

Many of the best Jewish players in the United States, including Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis, could play for Israel. Under the rules, a player can join a team if he is a citizen of a country, can qualify for citizenship, holds a passport of that country, or has a parent that is or was a citizen of that nation.

But retired Jewish players in theory could join, too. Shawn Green, 38, who played outfield and first base for the Blue Jays, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Mets, said he would be willing to come out of retirement to play for Israel.

"It would be an honor," Green said in a phone interview from New York, where he is promoting his new book, "The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 MPH." "If it fit into my life situation, I'd love to do it."

Green said he has kept in shape since retiring in 2007, but has not been playing much baseball. But if he got his stroke back, he could provide a punch. He hit 328 home runs and batted .283 in his 15-year career.

Despite Green's Jewish roots, his book describes how he relied on Eastern philosophies in the big leagues. He was influenced by "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," and he meditated to help block out distracting thoughts. Hitting off the tee to practice, he said, was also a form of mediation.

"I followed the idea of being in the present moment," Green said. "It's more common than not for players to find some routine to enable them to get their thoughts."

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