Cathedral FAQ: Last sendoff and more
Final gala event scheduled for Yankee Stadium in November
1. Aside from the final regularly scheduled game on Sunday, are there plans for an offseason celebration to mark the official end?Yes. There will be a big sendoff, star-studded bash at the stadium in early November, but a date hasn't officially been announced. 2. There were rumors that the Islanders might play the Rangers in an outdoor National Hockey League game in December that would be the final event at Yankee Stadium. Is that going to happen? No. It was a logistical nightmare, and the NHL is looking at next year as a possibility for that event at the new stadium. Instead, the NHL opted to schedule the Red Wings against the Blackhawks on Jan. 1, 2009, at Wrigley Field for its annual outdoor extravaganza. 3. When do the Yankees expect to formally move into the new facility? The keys to the stadium are scheduled to be turned over from the construction company to the Yankees on Feb. 17, 2009, a full two months before Opening Day on April 16. The Yankees will begin moving their offices across 161st Street from the old stadium some time in January. 4. Is there any concern that the new facility won't be ready on time? None. Twenty-five months after breaking ground, the Yankees say that they are right on schedule, with 75 percent of the construction complete, and 80 percent of the seats installed. The lead project coordinator said that all the heavy work had been done and they're on to the trims and finishes. 5. What are the plans for tearing down the old stadium, and how will that be done? That's up to the City of New York, which owns the facility, and no time frame has been announced. It certainly won't begin until any earlier than the spring of 2009. 6. What will replace the old stadium? Heritage Park, a ballpark for kids, is intended to replace the stadium as part of what has become a $175 million swap of parkland agreed to between the Yankees and Bronx officials. Macombs Dam Park and a portion of John Mullaly Park were utilized as the site of the new stadium. While the current playing field is part of the proposed Heritage Park, it may be indistinguishable under the new configuration. Plans are to use the old stadium's entire footprint for three fields: Baseball, softball and Little League. None of the existing structure will remain. 7. Most clubs that open a new stadium close out their exhibition schedule with a game or two to test everything in the new ballpark. Are plans being made to do that? Yes. The Yanks are planning two exhibition games to dry run the new ballpark, but dates and opponents have yet to be announced. 8. What are the plans for moving home plate to the new stadium? As of now, that won't happen. When the sod and the field are laid down in October, plans are to install a new home plate. The old Yankee Stadium plate has already been changed often, and the last one used will be part of that ballpark's long list of memorabilia. In fact, plans are to swap out the three bases every half inning for the finale on Sunday. 9. What are the plans for moving the monuments to the new ballpark? For safety reasons, that won't happen until January, just before the hand-over date. Monument Park will be just beyond the fence in dead center in the new stadium, as opposed to left-center in the existing ballpark. 10. What else from the old stadium will be moved to the new? The Yankees are opening a team museum in the new stadium, and decisions are being made right now on what items are going to be moved from the old stadium into it. One thing is certain: Since Thurman Munson died in the crash of his private plane during the 1979 season, his locker has remained in the same spot among the changing names above the cubicles in the current Yankee Stadium clubhouse. That locker will be taken in total to the new museum. 11. What is the timeline for sale of seats and other stadium memorabilia on the club's Web site? Since it's a City of New York facility run by the parks and recreation department, negotiations are currently under way to determine when and how that's going to be handled.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.