It seems that Hideki Matsui has gone and gotten married to an unnamed 25-year-old Japanese civilian. What makes this story so strange is that Matsui, one of Japan’s most famous bachelors, presented his bride as a black-and-white sketches today. It seems that he won the marriage bet he had going with Bobby Abreu and Derek Jeter. What are the chances this is an early April Fool’s joke? · (10) ·
Click to enlarge this image for a side-by-side comparison of the new and old Yankee Stadiums. (Courtesy of flickr user mfbyrne_pa)
As the new Yankee Stadium arises in the Bronx, we know a lot about the outside. In pictures, we’ve seen the new Stadium go up. Today, we learn that the entryway with the gold-etched lettering now features a few glass windows. From the outside, at least, the stadium in progress is quite the scene.
The inside is, of course, a different story all together. As shots from MLB.com show, the inside is far from complete, and the field, the last part of the project, is a mess of machinery and mud. In fact, throughout the whole process, information on the inside of the Stadium and its internal configuration has been hard to find. We know that the tier level seats will be more recessed at the new stadium. But what about the field and the sight lines? How do those compare?
This week, while digging around flickr, I came across the image at the top of the post. As the large version shows, the new field will have different dimensions from the old. The new stadium will still feature a 408-foot drive to centerfield and a 318-foot left field foul line. Right field moves in two feet to 312, and the power alleys appear to be 392 in left-center and 371 in right-center as opposed to 399 and 385.
While these dimensions are purely preliminary and could very well change, the new stadium, as it is displayed above, strikes me as a hitter’s park. Luckily, Phil Hughes and Chien-Ming Wang love those groundballs. (Check out this image from Baseball-Fever.com for an overlay of the old field on top of the new one.)
Meanwhile, the images, which seem to come from here and here, suggest that the front of the tier levels will be significantly more recessed than they are now. No longer will the upper reaches of the stadium hang over the loge and field level seats. Rather, most will be open-air seats. But a few changes will be made to help the stadium retain some intimacy.
Notably, foul territory behind the plate will be reduced. Again, the stadium will play as a hitter’s park with the fans much closer to the action. With these changes as well as a 53,000-seat capacity and a wider seating bowl, the last row of the tier level could be as much as 54 feet closer to the action. That’s a significant improvement even as it comes at the expense of the tier box seats (or, as they’ll be called, the Terrace Level seats).
Right now, everything here should be taken with a grain of salt. These are unofficial figures from folks who are, by and large, estimating what the field will look like. Until the Yankees unveil the final figures, we won’t know for sure. But we’re beginning to see the trade-offs. Some seats will be better than they are now; some will be worse. As much as I don’t want to see Yankee Stadium go because of the history, the nostalgia and the memories, I’m a bit excited to at least explore the new ballpark. I shudder to think, however, of the day the wrecking ball comes.
A couple hours after Chad Jennings informs us that utility infielder Nick Green chose not to use his opt-out clause, PeteAbe tells us that the Yanks cut fellow utility infielder Chris Woodward. Woodward hit .393-.414-.429 in 28 at-bats this spring, compared to Green who hit .160-.222-.280 in 25 AB’s. The Depth Chart has been updated accordingly. · (4) ·
Via Ed Price comes news that the Yanks bench appears set:
While the Yankees won’t say it publicly, their bench is set (barring unforeseen circumstances).
The Yankees have told people they plan to carry Morgan Ensberg. So assuming a lineup with Johnny Damon in left field, Hideki Matsui as designated hitter and Jason Giambi at first base (“He’s going to play a lot of first base,” manager Joe Girardi said today), the bench would be Ensberg, backup catcher Jose Molina, infielder Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan. That makes Betemit the only reserve middle infielder.
I like this bench. The Yanks are going heavy on the corner infielders and power hitters and light on the backup middle infielders, defensive replacements and outfielders. As Price notes, the Yanks will rely on Betemit to backup Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter. While doubts about Wilson’s middle infield prowess linger, barring any unforeseen injuries, I don’t expect seeing Cano and Jeter out of the lineup too often.
Considering last year’s Opening Day bench — Miguel Cairo and Wil Nieves, anyone? — I’d say Brian Cashman‘s done an excellent job turning one of the Yanks’ weaknesses into a clear strength.
“Moving Chamberlain in front of Rivera was not only the right move for 2008, but forever. Finding somebody to dominate the seventh and eighth innings is harder than discovering a fourth and fifth starter.” There you have it, folks. George King called Joba a fourth or fifth starter in the Post’s season preview. · (44) ·
Updating the ongoing Bob Sheppard story, Neil Best at Newsday reports that the Voice of the Yankees will miss his first home opener since 1951. In February, Sheppard speculated on a June return to the stadium, but now the 97-year-old declined to set a target date for his debut during the Yanks’ final season. “I don’t know when it will be, but it will be,” he said. Here’s to you, Bob; the sooner, the better. · (4) ·
The AP reports that Andy Pettitte threw a successful bullpen session this morning and is now on target to start the third or fourth game of the season. To keep a retroactive DL stint an option, Pettitte will face Minor Leaguers on Saturday or Sunday depending upon how his back responds to today’s pitching. Mike Mussina will, in all likelihood, start game two against the Blue Jays.
In other pitching news, the Yankees have apparently claimed Felix Heredia off waivers from the Reds. With the minors stocked with better arms, I shudder to think why.
Update by Joe: As many have pointed out, this seems to be a technical error on ESPN’s part. Rest assured, there is no Heredia redux. · (19) ·