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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Michael Eisner, Meet Shawn Green
2004-06-24 08:57
by Jon Weisman

Shawn Green has become a CEO with middle management standards.

There exists something I would call, "The Executive Suite Conundrum." When you reach the executive suite, as Green did by signing his nine-figure contract, you become more vital than the average employee. You earn perks and respect. You can be quirky - even have a spectacular failure or two - because when you're hot, you're smokin'.

The conundrum appears when your performance consistently ceases to justify your salary. What should the Board of Trustees do? Demote you or offer you the latitude to fix things based on your past success?

Green clearly feels that he should retain a key to the executive washroom.

Green is frustrated because, on a few occasions, Dodger manager Jim Tracy has cautiously moved him up, down or out of the lineup. Green is frustrated because he says it isn't helping.

"I haven't got to the point this year where I've been locked in, so obviously nothing has helped," he told the Orange County Register.

It does not seem to occur to Green, publicly at least, that his movement from the cleanup spot isn't entirely designed to help him, but reflects the fact that he is not doing a cleanup job.

Tracy doesn't want to fire Green - he just wants someone else to run the company temporarily because Green has become an ineffective CEO.

Green's response? He says he's not really that ineffective.

"Things have been getting better the last month," he told the Times. "I had two bad games."

Green seems to define a bad game as one in which he fails to reach base. It does not seem to occur to Green that a cleanup hitter has to do more than get singles here and there. The CEO needs higher standards.

Green has an on-base percentage of .366 and slugging percentage of .438 in June. That's good - if you're Cesar Izturis. As it is, Green's June OPS of .804 does not even put him in the top 100 in the majors.

It's probably safe to say that, as a cleanup hitter, Green has had more than a few bad games in June.

Green and Tracy both, somewhat unbelievably, continue to deny that Green's shoulder is an issue, according to the Daily News. Tracy seems to think the problem is a mechanical flaw. Green isn't so sure.

Either way, it adds up to Green saying there is nothing specifically wrong with him, nothing that won't be cured by more at-bats. But for some reason, as far as Green is concerned, those at-bats have to be in the cleanup spot.

Look, it's tremendously humbling to be demoted. Many people would rather be fired than demoted. But when you're on a team, you need to look beyond your own pride. Does Green see that this isn't all about him?

Adrian Beltre is a better hitter than Green right now. Even Juan Encarnacion is a better hitter than Green right now.

Green needs to stop being frustrated with his manager regarding the lineup. Tracy has no vendetta against Green - in fact, it's all too clear that if Tracy wants to keep his own job beyond this year, he's probably going to need Green to produce.

If Green starts hitting with authority again, wherever he is batting, Tracy will be the first person to want to reinstate him as the cleanup hitter. And the fans will be thrilled.

But the CEO has had enough latitude. It's time for results. Hit a few home runs, and then we can talk.

I say all this with the knowledge that in all likelihood, Green's pouting will force Tracy to give in on this war of wills and put Green back at No. 4 in the lineup sooner than later.

* * *

If you follow this link to Shawn Green's batting chart on and click on "2004 Season," you can see the locations where Green has hit the ball.

Try, for starters, Dodger Stadium. In 122 at-bats, Green has had seven hits that have reached the warning track or deeper - three doubles and four home runs. He has had three fly-ball outs that have reached the warning track, and about five others near the vicinity - roughly 350 feet from home plate.

That means in 107 out of 122 at-bats at home, 88 percent, Green hasn't really even shown high school power.

In 16 at-bats in San Francisco's SBC Park, Green has a double to the 309-foot mark in the right-field corner, a 350-foot flyout to center field, eight grounders to the right of second base, and six strikeouts.

Things are better at San Diego's Petco Park, with a home run, a long fly out and two doubles in 10 at-bats - all in April. But that's really about it.

In Green's defense, he reaches the 350-foot mark with about the same frequency as he did two years ago. In the 2002 season, Green had 278 at-bats at home. He had 18 home runs, 12 doubles, two singles and 12 flyouts at or near the warning track, meaning that 84 percent of his at-bats fell short.

But in 2002, when he connected, he really connected. He got doubles and home runs. In 2003, the home runs fell, though the doubles rose. This year, both categories have dropped.

* * *

I like Shawn Green. I like him.

Excuses are sour milk to him. He was hurt last year and he soldiered on.

But his home run totals since 2003 are:

2 - June 2004
3 - May 2004
4 - April 2004
7 - September 2003
1 - August 2003
3 - July 2003
2 - June 2003
3 - May 2003
3 - April 2003

Admittedly, on the Dodgers, you do have to lower your standards some. The entire offense smacks of middle management.

But those are not the home run totals of a cleanup hitter.

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