Interview: Yankees Talk About Blacksburg Visit


Interview: Yankees Talk About Blacksburg Visit


By Paige Greenberg
Contributing Writer
March 17, 2008

New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi and shortstop Derek Jeter are two of the most recognized names in New York. Girardi, who replaced the historic Joe Torre, is entering his first spring season as the team's manager. Jeter, who is currently batting .317 in his 13th year in the MLB, has played his entire career as a Yankee. He holds the record for most singles hit by a Yankee and recorded his 2,000th career hit becoming the 8th Yankee to reach this milestone. They shared some of their thoughts and views about the game that will take place March 18th here at English Field.

Q: How did this whole production start?

Girardi: Ownership in Mr. Steinbrenner, in a situation like this we felt like it was more important to show what we can to make a difference in this, our hierarchy, and the Steinbrenner family were really the influence.

Q: Since a large part of the lure is for the Hokie audience, do you see your team giving the wrong effort?

Girardi: I think our guys will go all out, we played USF and we won 11-4. A baseball game is a baseball game, we have a lot of respect and we will try to win.

Q: Where were you when (the tragedy) unfolded?

Girardi: I was a broadcaster with YES and FOX and on the exact day I don't know where I was, I was probably on the road. I just remember a sadness, and you try to understand how something like this can happen. I think when tragedies like this happen I try to figure out what it's like to be the family and how they feel.

Q: Any chance you guys are going to keep Billie Crystal on the roster and bring him up to Blacksburg?

Girardi: We'll see if he's a prospect or a suspect!

Q: Whom are we going to be seeing on Tuesday?

Girardi: We plan on bringing all out star players and stacking our lineup. You will see, probably, pitchers that will be on our club or have a really good chance of being on our club. Jeff Karstens will be our starter, he pitched in the big leagues and he is buying for a spot. It kind of depends on who throws the day before. It will be guys that have a realistic shot of being in our bullpen or being a starter.

Q: You had the experience of playing at Northwestern. Are you excited to see if playing the Hokies at English Field will remind you of your days as a student?

Girardi: Anytime you walk on a college campus it brings back fond memories. I think this is a wonderful thing that out team has the opportunity to do. I think everyone is excited and we look forward to having a nice day there.

Q: What do you think it shows about the Yankee organization to give such a generous donation and to make the effort to come down here and play the Hokies?

Girardi: Mr. Steinbrenner cares about people, he's always had a big heart, he's always reached out to communities, and I think it's a great thing for our club because we never know what's going to happen and we never know what's in store for tomorrow.

Q: How serious are you taking this game in regard to injuries and the score etc.?

Girardi: We will play the game hard. Obviously, we don't want anyone on their side to get hurt and we don't want anyone on our side to get hurt. So we'll play the game smart. We'll play aggressive, but we'll play smart.

Q: What does this game mean to you?

Girardi: This really puts things in perspective for us. It's a reminder every day how precious life is and how fortunate we are to have our health on any given day, so for me it means a lot. It's a wonderful opportunity for our players to see that you don't take life for granted.

Q: Are you looking forward to your trip to Blacksburg?

Jeter: I was looking forward to this since last season, usually playing here in New York there is usually a negative story with all the noise but I was always excited to come.

Q: You recall where you were and you reaction last year what do you think you will get out of this?

Jeter: I don't recall exactly, I recall hearing about, seeing the highlights on TV. I assume I was at home. It was unfortunate and I don't think you can find the proper words to describe how you feel. We just want to go down there. You look at what we do, it's entertainment. If we can bring some awareness and make people smile and enjoy themselves for a few hours, that's all that we really can do.

Q: What were your thoughts and feelings after the tragedy?

Jeter: A few of us are familiar with tragedy, obviously being on the team Sept. 11 and dealing with that tragedy in New York. I really had a new appreciation for life after that. And then you have an episode like this at Tech and you realize it's going to be a special trip.

Q: Evaluate your performance so far?

Jeter: It's not good when our manager is laughing in the background, but, it's going as expected. At this point we are playing 5 and 6 inning games, mainly getting timing down and being healthy. In the next week or so we will be working up to play 7 or 9 innings.

Q: Derek, you will arguable be the most famous person to step foot on campus, do you think you will finally be able to find a girlfriend?

Jeter: Unfortunately, we don't get to stay long but if you have anyone in mind let me know!

Q: Along those lines your flying up and back in the same day, are you looking forward to it?

Jeter: I was talking with Rivera and I don't believe he's going on the trip because he has to stay here and he wished he could go. I actually think he's not going because of the cold weather! I haven't heard one person who isn't looking forward to it. Hopefully the fans there, the students there, enjoy our visit.

Q: Any words to the young 18-year-olds on second base?

Jeter: Just don't hit me. We played USF our first spring-training game; I got hit in my first at-bat. I'll step over them if they make a hard slide, just don't hit me with your pitch.

Q: How do you approach this game?

Jeter: We are tying to get prepared to play a season and that's about 2 weeks away. We are in game mode, we are tying to get our work and we are taking this serious.

Q: Will you be pushing despite the score?

Jeter: I'm not sure how many innings we are playing, we have guys that take a lot of pride in performing well and how ever innings we play we are going to do our best and are going to play our best. We don't really have an opportunity to take any games off and we still want to play well.


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Paige Greenberg, “Interview: Yankees Talk About Blacksburg Visit,” The April 16 Archive, accessed July 18, 2024,