With the old familiar ballpark still appearing mostly intact, numerous Yankees employees helped carry items through the loading dock entrance of the old stadium Friday and onto a waiting moving truck.
Each one was a snapshot of the memories the organization built in the facility the Yankees opened in 1923. Among the treasured items moving to a new address were two World Series trophies. Ed Fastook carried the '77 World Series trophy across the street, while Tom Barbagallo was entrusted with the 2000 trophy.
Yankees officials adjusted their mailing addresses to reflect the move, with "One East 161st Street" now adorning official correspondence. Most of the existing telephone numbers were scheduled to be reconnected to the new Stadium beginning on Friday.
The crates were brought by trucks to the new loading dock of the 1.35-million-square-foot building, which is still a working construction site. But it also is unmistakably Yankee Stadium.
Large banners of the most recent World Series celebrations can be seen through the tall vaulted arches from street level, and inside the stadium, rows and rows of empty blue await their first ticketed seat-holders for the inaugural season.
The state-of-the-art video scoreboard is completely in place, hovering over the snowy area that will be center field. Upon two of the advertising panels are blue circles reading, "Yankee Stadium, 2-17-09." That will be the day the Yankees officially receive the keys to the new building, beginning full-scale operations.
Preparations will continue for the first scheduled games -- exhibitions on April 3-4 against the Cubs. That dry run will help the Yankees work out any kinks that may arise while the club opens on the road, returning to welcome approximately 53,000 in attendance for the official home opener on April 16 against the Indians.
The classic Yankee Stadium facility hosted its final game on Sept. 21 against the Orioles, but was used to hold events over the winter, including news conferences for new additions CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
Plans released by the City of New York have forecast that the current Yankee Stadium will be converted into a tree-lined park and playground area, featuring two baseball diamonds and a softball field for community use. The complex is tentatively being referred to as "Heritage Field," and the project is expected to be completed by fall 2011.
Yankee Stadium -- opened in 1923 and re-opened in '76 after a two-year renovation -- will not be completely abandoned for now. Several departments will remain in place at the building: the clubhouse staff, information technology, ticket office and the switchboard are tentatively scheduled to relocate on Feb. 27.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less