Picture By Diane Stanley
By MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun
LOS ANGELES -- The door to the Los Angeles clubhouse is deep blue, Dodger blue, as is the carpeting inside and the walls in back of the lockers.
The colour Shawn Green wears on his heart, however, remains decidedly more Blue Jay blue.
"You know if someone comes up to me, even now, and asks me what I do for a living I say without thinking: 'I play for the Blue Jays'," Green said yesterday morning. "Then I pause and say: `Wait a minute, that's not right.' I don't know why I think like that. I guess I'm used to it."
It is hours prior to Green's first game at Dodger Stadium, which sits in Chavez Ravine, about a 25-minute drive from his new digs in Santa Monica. It is a homecoming of sorts for the California Kid, but one far less emotional than the two days he spent in Toronto in the final two spring training games.
For Green, those two days were nothing but heartbreak.
"It was really hard," Green said of his return to the SkyDome. "It was harder than I thought it would be. I left Florida, hopped on a plane and landed in Toronto. I felt like I was a Blue Jay. I go into the clubhouse, see all my buddies, it was a tough couple of days.
"It knocked me back a little bit. To go through all the emotions, to see everybody. I was almost fighting back tears. It was hard. I was homesick."
It's an understable process that many an athlete feels when he grows up in one organization and moves on to another. It was harder in Green's case because of his close ties with Carlos Delgado and Alex Gonzalez, his two buddies with each of whom he will remain a lifelong friend.
When Green arrived at Vero Beach as a Dodger for spring training, he felt lost.
"I felt like I was in a dream world, in limbo," Green said. "The games were real, you just go out and play. But the rest ...
"But this (just completed) series in San Francisco really helped (me feel more like a Dodger). It was really intense with the stadium packed. I feel a little better every day. I'm going through an adjustment period."
Although he said some part of him always will remain a Blue Jay --- and not just the T-shirts he wears under his uniform -- he believes the decision he made was the right one.
"It's kind of like when you're splitting up with a girfriend that you've always been able to get along with but you know that things aren't right for the future," was how he put it.
As part of the pre-game ceremonies yesterday, Green received his Gold Glove Award, one earned as a Blue Jay. The game itself was a sparkling debut as he collected two hits including a two-run double in the Dodgers' 8-1 victory over the Reds.
Tha night after, there would be a get-together at his new house for family and friends.
"It will be the first barbecue of my major -league career," he said.
It's part of his new life, his new career. That world for Shawn Green now is Los Angeles. His heart? For the time being, it lies somewhere else.