NEW YORK -- On the same day he was introduced as the newest head coach of the New Jersey Nets, Avery Johnson took in batting practice on the field before the Yankees' series opener with the Phillies on Tuesday.
Johnson chatted with several players and for a long time with manager Joe Girardi, who passed along some advice about handling the New York media and what it's like to work for a high-profile owner. The latter is an area Johnson already has some expertise in, having coached under Mark Cuban in Dallas.
Johnson said he grew up following the Yankees, at least in part because his father was a Dodgers fan.
"We had our little rivalry," Johnson joked, adding that he understands how the sports scene works in New York. "Fans in New York are very passionate, and I'm going to feel that. I've felt it already."
This, however, was Johnson's first trip to the Bronx to see the Yankees play in their home stadium. He came away impressed.
"This is fabulous," Johnson said of Yankee Stadium. "I've been to quite a few baseball stadiums, and nothing compares with this."
-- Tim Britton