I had the opportunity to speak with New York Yankees president Randy Levine, who was in town to announce a new strategic plan to improve the athletics and recreation programs at his alma mater, George Washington University (class of 1977).
As the subject turned to baseball, Levine was complimentary concerning the Nationals as the Yankees prepare for their first trip to Nationals Park in June.
Here is my audio interview with Levine on the Nationals and Yankees.
Levine was especially impressed with the pitchers the Nationals have acquired the past two months, one of whom the Yankees had their eyes on.
"I think they have had a real good off season," Levine said. "Gio Gonzalez is a pitcher we have faced many times. I think he is going to really help them. They made a nice signing with Edwin Jackson - that was someone we were looking at. I think they are getting much more competitive. I think they are going to be really good. Of course, if their young pitcher, Steven Strasburg, and some of the other young pitchers (do well), I think they can compete. It is always great to come down here and play them."
Levine believes the Yankees will once again compete for the world championship.
"Every year, we have one mandate: Win the World Series." Levine said. "We look at things that if we don't win the World Series, then the season is a failure. Basically, we had the best offense in baseball last year. We pretty much are bringing everybody back. We improved our pitching staff significantly with Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda. Our bullpen is great. I think we will have a great team, but you have to play the games and you have to stay healthy."
Levine said this is the month on the calendar where all baseball franchises get ready to working out toward opening day.
"It is an exciting time - spring training is right around the corner," Levine said. "It should be an exciting year. We believe we have the talent to compete and win. But as I said, it is a long season and there is always something around the winding road that you don't anticipate. Every team has the same issue."
The Yankees arrive June 15-17 at Nationals Park for their first series in D.C. since 2006, when the home team played at RFK Stadium.