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Cleveland Indians

And it only cost $1.5 billion

By Sheldon Published: April 16, 2009

There is a time warp effect for fans sitting in the new Yankee Stadlium.

The shape and sight lines of the grandstand, the dimensions of the field, the location of the bullpens, the scoreboard filled with ads and the iconic slatted frieze that rings the facing of the upper deck are nearly identical to old Yankee Stadium, which sits forlon and forgotten across the street.

Identical would be the wrong word, because above the mezzanine level are a row of suites which begin in far right field and continue until they abut the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in distant left field, one of three membership only restaurants in the ballpark.

Another, the Legends Suite Club, is on the lower concourse level behind home plate. Who is entitled to step inside the Legends Suite Club? ""It's for the fancy, schmantsy people,'' said the usher at the door.

That would be the fans who sit in the first eight rows behind the plate in padded chairs, where each seat costs $2,600 per game.

The concourse from home plate to the right field foul pole is lined with concession outlets and stores to buy everything from Yankee memorabilia and gear to fine art.

More than an hour before the game, 21 people were in line at the Bank of America ATM machine, and 55 more were lined up outside the Yankee Team Store, which was too jammed to hold all the prospective customers.

In the concourse near first base was the Peter Max Gallery, where fans went after they left the ATM machine. Several of the popular artist's works were for sale: If his 2003 Liberty Head painting, priced at $24,000, didn't quite fit the budget, there was Walking in the Reeds, selling for the relative bargain price of $7,850.

When fans get hungry, there are plenty of choices, from Nathan's Famous hot dogs, Carl's Philly cheesesteaks, Johnny Rockets hamburgers, sushi and Asian noodles, outposts that sell garlic fries ($5), candied and caramel apples and south of the border delicacies at La Esquina Latina.

A Cuban sandwich at La Esquina is $9.75, a Moe's Homewrecker Burrito $9 and plantain chips $4. 

The visitors locker room is as large as many home team facilities, and the Yankee clubhouse runs from home plate to right field. And player amenities aren't just about space. In every Yankee locker is a lap top computer. 

Impressive, to be sure. But when all is said and done, Yankee Stadium is just another $1.5 billion ballpark.

OLD FRIEND, NEW ENEMY -- It was difficult for at least some of the Indians to look at CC Sabathia and regard him as the enemy.

"For me, it was kind of hard to get in the box and see CC in a different uniform,'' said Victor Martinez, who caught Sabathia and came up through the Tribe farm system with him. ""I don't have a word to describe it. But I always wish CC the best.''

Added Grady Sizemore, ""He was a good teammate and a good friend for so long, it was difficult early in the game. It definitely was tough my first at-bat.'' 

UNIQUE DISTINCTION -- When the starting lineups were announced, Carl Pavano was greeted with the loudest and longest boos of the afternoon. 

Pavano is coming off a four-year, injury-filled stint with the Yankees, and was made out to be a villain by the New York press corps. Obviously, the fans were paying attention.

A HAUL FOR THE HALL -- Jeff Idelson, president of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, was on hand to collect significant memorabilia.

After the game, Idelson chose three items to take back to Cooperstown: a Cliff Lee autographed game-used baseball, Sabathia's shoes and Grady Sizemore's bat.

"That represented the seminal moment of the game,'' Idelson said of the bat. 

HOW WEIRD? -- Wedge was asked before the game how weird it would be to see former Cleveland ace CC Sabathia pitch in a Yankee uniform.

"I hope it's a little more weird for him than it is for us,'' he said.

ON SCHEDULE? -- Because of an off day Monday, Wedge has the option of skipping Aaron Laffey's turn, but that doesn't mean he will.

"I don't think so, but I'm not sure yet,'' the manager said. ""There's a good argument to give everybody (but Laffey) an extra day because we're going to be playing 17 or 18 in a row.''

After the off day, the Tribe will play 26 games in 27 days.

Wedge also said that he might reassess keeping eight relievers after the series here concludes.

FARM FACTS -- David Huff (2-0, 4.50 ERA) gave up one run and five hits in five innings, and Michael Aubrey singled twice, but his average dropped to .542 in Columbus' 4-1 win over Indianapolis. Jordan Brown homered and doubled... Lonnie Chisenhall and Matt Brown each had two hits in Kinston's 6-2 loss to Wilmington.


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