The New York Yankees will announce detailed plans today for a new $800 million ballpark, which would be built adjacent to Yankee Stadium and could be ready by the 2009 season.
The team has spent years planning the new stadium, which will have a capacity of at least 50,800 -- approximately 6,000 fewer seats than Yankee Stadium -- but could be expanded to about 54,000. It would be constructed in Macombs Dam Park, to the north of Yankee Stadium, and financed by the team.
Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923, is the third-oldest park in use in the major leagues, younger only than Boston's Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago's Wrigley Field (1914). Yankee Stadium was renovated extensively in 1974-75, but the team has long desired a modern ballpark with more luxury suites and wider concourses.
The stadium plan calls for the new ballpark to resemble Yankee Stadium in many of its details, and the dimensions of the playing field to be identical to those in the old ballpark. It would have 50 to 60 suites.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, New York Gov. George Pataki and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg planned to attend a news conference today announcing the stadium, Steinbrenner spokesman Howard Rubenstein said. The Yankees hope to start construction in 2006 and move into the new ballpark in 2009, an ambitious timetable given the delays that frequently occur during construction projects in New York.
Approval from the state legislature and the city council is necessary. The state would contribute about $70 million to increase parking from 7,000 spaces to 11,000, and the city would replace the lost parkland as part of the deal. A new commuter train station and expanded ferry terminal also is part of the plan.
* ICHIRO HITS MILESTONE: Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki became the third player since 1900 to collect 1,000 hits in less than 700 games when he singled in the bottom of the first inning last night against Philadelphia.
Ichiro lined the second pitch from Jon Lieber off the wall in right field to reach the 1,000-hit plateau in 696 games. Chuck Klein reached the mark in 1933 after 683 games, and Lloyd Waner reached it in 1932 in 686 games.
* GODZILLA LIVES: Despite injuring his right ankle over the weekend, Hideki Matsui was in the lineup for last night's series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 388th straight game he has played since joining the Yankees.
Matsui, who normally plays outfield, was in the lineup as a designated hitter. He wasted little time showing he was ready to play, hitting a solo homer to right-center on the first pitch he saw in the second inning from Pittsburgh starter Kip Wells. Matsui went 2 for 3 with two runs before being replaced by pinch hitter Ruben Sierra with the Yankees leading 7-0 in the sixth.
Matsui has a playing streak of 1,638 games in a row, including his years with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's Central League. That number would place him third all-time, behind Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig.
* MORE REHAB FOR WOOD: Kerry Wood will make at least two more rehabilitation starts for Class AAA Iowa before returning to the Cubs' rotation, Manager Dusty Baker said.
Wood, out since late April with a right shoulder strain, started and pitched three innings in Des Moines on Monday, allowing one run and three hits. He only threw 46 pitches because of a rain delay in the third that ended his night an inning early.
Wood will start again Sunday in Nashville. The Cubs want him to hit the 60-pitch mark before throwing 75 to 90 pitches in his third start.
* AMBASSADOR LASORDA: Tommy Lasorda is going to Japan at the request of President Bush.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers manager was asked to represent the United States as a delegate at the World Exposition from June 17 to 22 in Aichi, Japan. "I consider it to be an honor and privilege to represent the president, as well as my country," Lasorda said.
Lasorda, who has visited Japan more than two dozen times on behalf of the Dodgers, will join Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Tom Schieffer, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, on the trip.
-- From News Services