The Grandstand: Looking ahead to a new opportunity in New York

Curtis Granderson
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It's been a little over six months since I last wrote a blog post. Obviously, a lot has changed.

First, I'd like to thank the New York Yankees, Yahoo! Sports and Big League Stew for allowing me to continue my blog for the fourth season.

Many fans and experts labeled the last official game I played in as one of the most exciting and competitive baseball games they have ever seen. Unfortunately for my teammates and I, it was a heartbreaking loss to the Twins to knock the Tigers out of the playoffs in the 163rd game of the season.

That heartbreak was soon replaced with many other emotions when I was traded at the start of December to the world champion New York Yankees. While I will miss the city of Detroit, its fans and my teammates, I've always felt that change should be viewed as a positive thing. The Tigers got some great new players on their roster in return, so the change should be good for them as well.

The day after the trade, I was actually able to spend some time away with a few of my former teammates at a charity event held by Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens(notes). Placido Polanco(notes) and Gary Sheffield(notes) were there and it was perfect timing for me personally to discuss the trade with some players who I respect and have been in my shoes.

In January, I held my annual celebrity basketball game that benefits my Grand Kids Foundation in Detroit. Through that event, I was able to say thank you to many of the Tigers fans who have supported me throughout my career. I want to assure them that my foundation will continue to promote the importance of education in the Detroit area.

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It has been fun and exciting for me to get to work with new teammates, new coaches and a new organization. My friends, family and even fans ask me what it's like to play with the likes of Derek Jeter(notes) and Alex Rodriguez(notes). I've known a lot of players with the Yankees for a few years, but now I get a daily chance to watch and learn from the many past and future Hall of Famers in this organization. There are reasons these players are consistently the best in the game and I am continuing to observe them to learn how they have achieved that success.

One of the things I am most excited about this year is the rivalry with the Red Sox. The best part is that we start the season tonight in Boston, so I'll get to feel that intensity right away.

Part of what I love about playing baseball is seeing passionate fans in every city I visit. There is a true pride for fans in every MLB city, but I'm expecting this to be different. Last year, I had Red Sox fans, White Sox fans, Yankees fans and fans of every other team leaving me supportive comments on my Facebook and MySpace pages. Since I've become a Yankee, I've seen a lot of that change in a fun way. I know I am now walking into a road stadium every night and getting booed. But it is that fun, friendly and respectful passion that makes baseball fans so great.

Just as I did in Detroit, I am going to play my hardest every day. The No. 1 goal here is to win a 28th championship. While this team is the defending World Champions, I am going to be a spectator the night they get their championship rings.

That alone should be motivation for me to go out and win the title this year.

Finally, as a Horizon League alum from the University of Illinois at Chicago, I want to congratulate Butler on a great run to the NCAA men's basketball finals and wish them the best of luck in Monday night's game against Duke. I'm sure Twins relief pitcher Pat Neshek(notes), the Butler career strikeout leader, will also be cheering them on.

Let's go Yankees!

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Curtis Granderson plays for the New York Yankees and his blog will appear regularly on Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew during the 2010 season. Make sure to check out and support his Grand Kids Foundation.

Read his previous posts here.