Thursday, September 23, 2004 Updated: September 25, 12:47 AM ET
First baseman will sit out Saturday's game
SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Shawn Green will
sit out Saturday afternoon's game against the San Francisco Giants
in observance of Yom Kippur.
The first baseman-outfielder said he will play Friday night when
the Dodgers and Giants, battling for the NL West lead, play the
opener of a three-game series in San Francisco.
"Everyone approaches their worship in their own way and goes
about it differently," Green said before the slumping Dodgers
played the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. "Playing one of the
two is the most consistent with my beliefs as a Jewish person."
When asked to explain, Green said: "I'm not orthodox. I am
Jewish and I respect the customs, and I feel like this is the most
consistent way for me to celebrate the holiday."
The Dodgers, who've lost seven of their last 10 games, entered
Thursday night's action with a half-game lead over the Giants and a
4½-game lead over the Padres.
Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, starts at
sunset Friday with the Kol Nidre service. Saturday's game was given
a 1:05 p.m. PT start because it will be televised by Fox, and the
Jewish Day of Atonement does not end until sunset that night.
Asked why he picked Friday as the day to play instead of
Saturday, Green said: "I just feel like personally that's the best
way I can respect the holiday and the way that I'm going to do
Earlier Thursday, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said Green had the
support of the team no matter what he decided to do.
"It's a personal decision, and it's his decision to make,"
Green struggled with the issue for several days, and spoke with
his wife, parents and grandmother before making his decision.
"I woke up this morning feeling good about it," he said.
Green said his teammates and others in the organization were
supportive. He told manager Jim Tracy of his decision several hours
before Thursday night's game.
Tracy said he didn't have a reaction, "because I don't delve
into people's religious practices, their beliefs. I have no
interest in making a comment about something I'm not totally versed
on, the Jewish faith, and how exactly all that works. I'm aware of
some of the things of it, but no other comment beyond that."
Green has missed only 10 of 799 games in five seasons with the
Dodgers, including Sept. 26, 2001, when he observed Yom Kippur and
ended a streak of 415 consecutive games played.
Green, 31, entered Thursday night's game with a .267 batting
average, 27 homers and 81 RBI.