Major League Notebook
The baseball notebook …
NEW YORK ó Unlike the Babe and the House he Built, these New York Yankees and their palatial new stadium were given a practice run.
The Hard Rock Cafe in right field was packed at game time Friday night, a birthday party was going on in NYY Steak above it, and the carpeted corridors outside the $850,000-a-year luxury suites were busy as people picked up drinks in the lounge.
Oh, baseball was played, too.
In the first game at a $1.5 billion stadium, Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui hit two-run homers, and Cody Ransom hit a three-run shot to lead the Yankees to a 7-4 exhibition victory over the Chicago Cubs before 48,402.
NEW YORK ó Citi Field was nearly empty when New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel popped out of the dugout and strolled toward the first-base line.
A light mist was falling on the white tarp covering the infield, yet Manuel stood in one spot and soaked in the new place as it glistened in the rain. All those dark green seats hugging the warning track, the crooked angles of the outfield fence.
“Oh, it’s beautiful,” Manuel said with a wide grin.
About 90 minutes later, the Mets opened their $800 million ballpark with an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox. Carlos Beltran hit an RBI single, new closer Francisco Rodriguez earned a save and New York rewarded its soggy fans with a rain-delayed 4-3 victory.
NEW YORK ó Sitting in new Yankee Stadium on the first day fans came to the $1.5 billion ballpark, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner admitted some tickets might be overpriced given the recession but insisted the team read the market correctly for most of them.
The Yankees set prices for its premium Legends Suites seats 13 months ago and sold them for $500-$2,500 as part of season tickets. Some of those seats remain available for individual games, when the prices go up to $2,625.BRAVESATLANTA ó Turner Field was just as Javier Vazquez remembered: a nice park for pitchers.
Vazquez pitched four perfect innings to continue a strong spring showing by Atlanta’s starters and Omar Infante hit a two-run homer to lead the Braves to a 3-1 exhibition win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday.
– Jordan Schafer’s rise to the major leagues became official on Friday when the Braves set their 25-man roster and named the 22-year-old rookie their starting center fielder.
Schafer beat out Josh Anderson, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers on Monday, and Gregor Blanco, who was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday.RED SOX
BOSTON ó It’s not “Crazy” talk, it’s absolutely true: Grammy Award winner Seal will sing the national anthem at the Boston Red Sox season opener.
The Red Sox take on the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays on Monday at Fenway Park. Seal is in town that day as part of his North American tour in support of his latest album SOUL.
SEATTLE ó The Seattle Mariners have placed star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on the 15-day disabled list because of a bleeding ulcer.