Yankee Stadium is ready for its close-up.
At 11:30, MLB.com/Live will air a half-hour show featuring hosts Mike Siano and Justin Kutcher in the studio and Hal Bodley, Bryan Hoch and Noah Coslov in the ballpark.
It will continue at noon with coverage of pregame festivities online as well as on YES Network, with MLB Network adding its highly anticipated touch to the historic countdown beginning at 12:30 and simulcast live on MLB.com.
The simulcast will include the ceremonial first pitch and a free live look-in during the first inning with no blackout restrictions, while out-of-market subscribers to MLB.TV Premium can get their feed of choice from start to finish through a high-speed connection and enjoy it all in HD quality.
Fans will experience the last Major League Baseball home opener of 2009 in every live way imaginable. Many will walk through Babe Ruth Plaza and inside Gate 6 to join the masses who fill each seat and standing area, their cameras clicking in the afternoon sun. Many more will watch and listen to it globally, as the sport's most famous franchise begins a new era with a homestand opener against Cleveland.
The YES Network will carry it live for Yankee fans who live in the team's region. Michael Kay, Paul O'Neill and the familiar YES crew will be ready.
The new MLB Network will add even more luster to occasion. How about a third TV crew -- and one comprised of some beloved personalities who live up to the moment? Bob Costas will be there for inimitable play-by-play, joined by color commentators Jim Kaat and Harold Reynolds.
"I wanted to make sure Jim Kaat was a part of the group because he pitched in the true original Yankee Stadium," Costas said of the longtime Twins pitcher and former Yankees TV analyst. "His career began in 1959, so he pitched against Ted Williams, he faced Mickey Mantle at the old Yankee Stadium, and while the broadcast won't be exclusively about new stadium, old stadium, it certainly has to be part of it. I thought that Jim's perspective would be important, and ... Harold has been such a prominent part of the Network that it is appropriate that he be involved on this first broadcast.
"So I think it's going to be a combination of introducing people outside of New York to the new Yankee Stadium, but also talk about the Yankees prospects and the Indians' prospects for the season ahead. And the pitching pairing that the rotations hold is CC Sabathia against Cliff Lee, so you can't ask for much more than that. So as long as the weather holds up, I think we're in good shape."
The forecast this afternoon is sunny in the high 50s. It could not be a more perfect setup.
This will be about convenience and many perspectives for those who want to see the Yankees open a new ballpark for the first time since Ruth and friends did it in 1923. The game will be available wherever you are, and it's set to be a ceremonious day for all.
Pregame. The game. Postgame. It will be a day to savor, and you'll want to experience it.
Yankees fan Steve Gioe said he will be watching the game live on MLB.TV from his home in Pompano Beach, Fla. He has lived through the increase in ways to experience Yankees baseball, but he noted that the wins and the losses and the stories are what always remain at the core.
"It was 1947," he wrote Wednesday in an email to MLB.com. "The (hated) Red Sox arrived on Saturday, with a one-game lead, on the next-to-the last day of the season. The Yankees won. On Sunday, with the standings tied, my brother-in-law woke me at 4 a.m. to travel to the Stadium. We sat in the bleachers. What a marvelous day. What a marvelous Stadium. What a marvelous life."
Life is about to get even better for a Yankees fan.
If you don't happen to like the Yankees, then guess what? There will be three other MLB day games played concurrently on MLB.TV: Marlins-Braves, Astros-Pirates and another rendition of that celebrated Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. Even many of those games' viewers and listeners will be toggling back and forth to learn about first-after-first, or maybe to hear a Costas call -- if for nothing more than curiosity.
The newness of it all is what you notice as this much-anticipated Opening Day approaches. It is a new home schedule, a new Yankee Stadium, a new 24/7 baseball Network with Costas as its new broadcaster, a new MLB.TV media player loaded with new technology and there will be a new Yankees ace starting it all today -- a date to be recalled many years from now.
"We've been really looking forward to this game in particular," MLB Network CEO Tony Petitti said. "The opportunity to do the first game from Yankee Stadium, to put out the team we've assembled together, with Bob and Jim and Harold. Bob's first appearance back, to have Jim back out doing games is great. Obviously to pair them with Harold, who has been a big part of the Network since it launched on Jan. 1, we think it's a great way to showcase what we're doing here. I'm looking forward to it, and it's just another first for us here in our first few months."
"I'd just like to say that I'm grateful to Tony for giving me the opportunity to get back into the broadcast booth on the MLB Network," Kaat said. "When I visited with Tony some time ago in January, he speculated about putting Bob and I together, and it's particularly thrilling because I know what a baseball fan Bob is. And it's also an added thrill to be a part of the on-field pregame ceremonies as well, which the Yankees were gracious enough to invite me to be a part of. It's going to be an exciting day, and I'm looking forward to it."
MLB.TV Premium is $109.99 for the year (or $19.95 monthly), a $10 drop from last year despite upgrades everywhere. Highlights include:
HD picture quality (where HD is available), adaptive bit-rate determination to ensure picture clarity along with manual override capability; home and away feeds so you decide which team's broadcasters to listen to; Live Radio Option so you can choose TV or radio booth feeds; live game DVR and jump-to-inning navigation; picture-in-picture, which will be huge during the season as you need to follow other games in the pennant race; built-in live scoreboard of the day's games; game summary and box-score widgets; full-screen and multi-view switching; and a user-preference setting that can show/hide score spoilers and more.
Along with MLB.TV, today's game will be broadcast live on Gameday Audio. Fans will have their choice of the Indians' broacaster, WTAM, or the Yankees' flagship station, WCBS.
Those watching today's historic contest can watch real-time highlights during the game, then postgame highlights and a video wrapup.
It has been a long wait for the final home opener of the 2009 Major League Baseball regular season. Now it is almost time for two former Cleveland teammates to face each other in an historic moment, for the camera flashes to electrify a ballpark, for fans around the world to join the excitement live as new Yankee Stadium has its day.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.