04/14/09 8:47 PM ET
New York opening looms for Tribe
Indians focusing on Royals while knowing what's ahead
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
While emphasizing that they still have unfinished business in Kansas City, the Indians can't help but feel an anticipation buzz coming all the way from New York. On Thursday, the Yankees and Indians will open the new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium amid what's sure to be a circus atmosphere.
Throw in the nugget that the pitching matchup is a "Who's Who" among recent American League Cy Young Award winners, with former Indians ace C.C. Sabathia facing Cliff Lee, and it all adds up to a special date on the baseball calendar for the home club and visiting club alike.
"They couldn't' have scripted it any better," said center fielder Grady Sizemore.
The Tribe will wrap up its three-game series against the Royals on Wednesday afternoon and then fly to New York to get ready for a day to be long remembered.
"New York is a very exciting city and I always enjoyed playing at the old Yankee Stadium," Sizemore said. "I'm sure it'll be a great experience for our club to be part of it. It'll be a circus show for a couple of days, but we'll just put all that aside when it's time to play. We just have to make sure that with everything going on, it's not a distraction."
The monuments, the historic outfield facade and the legendary voice of public address announcer Bob Sheppard made games at The House That Ruth Built a unique experience. Now the curtain goes up on a new era of Yankees tradition. and the Indians will be part of that future trivia question regarding who played the first regular-season game in the new stadium .
Though he isn't eligible to come off the disabled list until April 20, infielder Jamey Carroll wanted to come along on this road trip so that he could experience the Yankee Stadium hoopla. Plans had already been made for his father to be there, which will make it even more meaningful for Carroll.
"As soon as we saw that we were going to be the team that opened it up, we all felt it was pretty neat to be part of something like that," Carroll said. "You see over and over the reports of how much money they put into it and the buildup for it. You've got two great pitchers going, and I'm going to have a pretty good seat for it."
Indians right-hander Anthony Reyes will pitch the second game at Yankee Stadium when he opposes Joba Chamberlain on Friday.
Does Reyes wish his turn had come up one day earlier?
"I just see it as an honor to be able to put the uniform on and be a part of history," Reyes said. "Whether I was pitching the first game there or the second game, it's still going to be a special time to get up there on that mound."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.