New York state of mind...

Nationals Southpaw John Lannan will take the mound tonight against a team he grew up rooting for.

As a youngster, his father, Ed, would take him to the old Yankee Stadium and they would watch the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Don Mattingly and others donning the precious Yankee pinstripes.

John himself even took the mound once at the House that Ruth built. He had a tryout there before he was drafted by the Nationals in 2005. Even though the Yanks worked him out, it’s better for him that his career path took him to Washington, D.C. Yankees prospects aren’t known for their fast track to the big leagues like the Nats are.

John grew up in Long Island and he told me recently there’s something about being from New York. There’s an edge to him that helps him compete like a bulldog when he takes the hill.

Back in D.C. his roommate is teammate Joel Hanrahan, a Midwesterner himself. Joel says he is definitely more laid back, while John is more opinionated about things. Even driving around, Joel will let cars go and give a courtesy wave if someone lets him go ahead of them. Not John, he’s got that New York aggressive driving down pat. I even experienced it once leaving Nationals Park--not that I’m judgin. Hey, I grew up driving in Boston.

But, still, Joel says John is a great roommate. The two enjoy their neighborhood in D.C. and rarely get recognized. They have a beautiful view of Washington, D.C. from their rooftop which features a nice look at the Capitol and Nationals Park.

John has been a solid fixture in the Nats rotation. It’s hard to believe he’s the most experienced in the group, even though he only turns 25 in August.

The Siena College (Albany, NY) product credits his Dad, who has helped coach him since he was six, for teaching him the right way to do things: Work hard and good things will come your way.

That’s the approach he’ll take when he puts his childhood memories aside and faces Derek Jeter for the first time. It’ll be a New York state of mind tonight at Yankee Stadium for the entire Lannan family, but John wouldn’t have it any other way.

More Lannan in Thursday’s Bronx Finale:
MASN will be Covering the Bases with John Lannan tomorrow afternoon from Yankee Stadium. I had a chance to visit with John and his roommate Joel at their Washington, D.C. home for the segment, and you’ll get a rare look at the life of a big league ballplayer away from the field . Stay Tuned!