As Yankees Manager Joe Girardi wrapped up his media availability in the visitors’ dugout before Friday night’s game at Nationals Park, he commented on the difference between the new ballpark and RFK Stadium.
The locker rooms are spacious here, unlike the retrofitted rooms at the old place. And is that a patch of turf or grass beyond the center field wall?
The Yankees haven’t played in the District since 2006. Girardi also visited the city for the last time that season, during his managerial tenure with the Florida Marlins.
Along with a new stadium, the Yankees will encounter quite a different ballclub as they meet the Nationals in a matchup of first-place teams. The Nats were eight games below .500 when they hosted the Yankees at RFK in June 2006.
“I’m sure they’re enjoying it,” Girardi said. “They built up their club the old-fashioned way through the draft. I’m sure they enjoy it.”
Yankees outfield Curtis Granderson said he hasn’t had a chance to watch the Nationals this season and all he can look at is their 38-23 record. He said he expects a good series and is particularly looking forward to facing the Nationals’ pitching staff.
“The guy pitching today, tomorrow and the next day is about as good as any other in the league,” Granderson said. “That is the one thing I’ve heard a lot about.”