'The Perfect Dodger'
Bob Nightengale, Baseball Weekly
LOS ANGELES -- DODGERS CEO BOB DALY opens the
door to his extravagant Dodger Stadium suite, and it's a Who's
Who of Hollywood. There's Tom Cruise in one corner. Look, there's
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Steven Spielberg is munching on a
hot dog. Hey, isn't that the woman in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
There are nearly 40 friends, relatives, actresses and actors churning through Daly's suite during the Dodgers' glorious home opener at their refurbished stadium, and after admiring the suite, lavishing praise on the team, they all have the same thing in mind.
"Uh, Bob, is Shawn Green married?"
"Bob, you wouldn't mind introducing me to Shawn, would you?"
"Bob, if you give me Shawn's number, I've got the perfect girl for him."
"Bob, trust me, he would fall in love with my daughter."
Daly laughs at all of the requests and tries to tell them that Green, the Dodgers' right fielder, has a serious girlfriend of 1 1/2 years. Sorry, they won't hear of it. They want to meet Green, one of the most eligible bachelors in all of Los Angeles.
"Most of them want me to fix him up with their daughters," Daly says. "They ask me, 'Is he single?' 'How old is he? Well, I've got a daughter that age who'd be perfect for him.' You hear mothers in the Jewish community say, 'Shawn, do we have a girl for you.'
"Hey, who can blame them?
"He's a good-looking young man, as nice as they come, and he's signed to a contract worth $84 million.
"How much better can it get?"
Well, at least Daly's friends are being diplomatic. The workplace of attorney Jeff Moorad, Green's agent, is flooded daily with cards, pictures and flowers hoping to meet the 6-4, 200-pound star with the wavy black hair. Some of the women, let's just say, aren't real bashful.
"We tell people he has a girlfriend," Moorad says, "but as long as he's single, the females keep calling."
And the women don't stop there. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles not only is flooded with requests from Jewish organizations seeking his time, but from plenty of women who would give anything to meet him.
"Hey, you should have seen it in Toronto," says former teammate Dan Plesac, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks. "You would hear all of the women screaming every night he came to bat. Everybody loved him.
"What can you say, the guy has everything going for him. But you know what? He's not abusing it. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever want to meet. You couldn't ask for a better teammate, a better friend, and someone that everyone respects.
"When he hits homers, he doesn't stand at home plate watching it. He didn't flip his bat. He doesn't point his finger to the guy when he throws someone out in the field.
"He's just a ballplayer and is as down-to-earth as anyone you'll ever meet."
Green might have a face that belongs in Hollywood, a chiseled body that belongs in GQ, a brain that landed a scholarship to Stanford, and talent that could one day belong to the Hall of Fame, but he has an ego smaller than your local batboy's.
You wouldn't know from talking to him that this guy is making $14 million a year. His only black book is the one he jots notes in about that game's opposing pitcher. And he absolutely refuses to flaunt his fame.
Away from the stadium, Green blends anonymously into the city, a celebrity without the face recognition ... so far. "You put a backpack on him, throw him on campus, and he'd look just like any other student," Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros says. "He's just a genuine person."
Sure, he just purchased a $3.9 million, 6,000-square-foot home in Pacific Palisades. But he's quick to point out that only if you squint, can you see a sliver of the ocean. And besides, he bought it for his friends and family to hang out in his home, even hosting a barbecue on Opening Day after the game, although he somehow forgot to buy a brush for his new grill.
He bought a new gray Mercedes, complete with every luxury known to man. "Now that was a real stretch for me," he says. But hey, it was time for a new car anyway. His beat-up SUV was piling on the miles.
The rest of the money is all in the bank, well, except for the $750,000 home he recently bought his folks, Ira and Judy Green. And the $1.5 million he has committed to local charities. And the lavish gifts he bought his sister, Lisa, and friends and family members.
"It's almost like he's embarrassed about the money he's making," says Ira Green, a former high school baseball and basketball coach who now owns a sprawling indoor batting facility. "He kind of wishes that he wasn't one of the highest-paid players. He can't wait until more guys pass him."
Do you know any other major league veteran who apologizes when his socks miss the clubhouse clothes hamper, or treats the clubhouse attendants as if they're front-office executives?
"He's awesome," says Dave "Bones" Dickinson, the highly respected Dodgers assistant clubhouse manager. "He's unbelievable the way he treats people. He respects everyone from the top down."
You walk around the Dodgers' clubhouse, and everyone has their favorite stories about Green, their new teammate who only joined the organization last November. They'll tell you about his modesty. They'll tell you about his politeness. And they'll tell you he almost is too good to be true.
"This guy is a true superstar," rookie reliever Matt Herges says. "He could be the biggest jerk in the world and get away with it. Instead, he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met in my life."