Report: New stadiums for Mets, Yankees to open two days apart

NEW YORK -- Mark your calendars for the grand openings: The Yankees and Mets will inaugurate their new stadiums just two days apart next spring.

The Mets will play their first game at Citi Field on Tuesday, April 14, against the San Diego Padres, according to Major League Baseball's draft preliminary schedule for 2009. The new Yankee Stadium will open on April 16 with a game against the Cleveland Indians.

Details of next year's openers were disclosed to The Associated Press on Thursday by baseball officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the teams nor the commissioner's office have made any announcements.

"That's exciting news," said Indians left-hander Cliff Lee, who started this year's All-Star game for the American League at Yankee Stadium. "Being at the last All-Star game at the old place was such a thrill, and to link the two together is going to be pretty neat."

The current Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923, with Babe Ruth homering in a 4-1 win over Boston in the first game. The Yankees open next season at Baltimore, then go to Kansas City and Tampa Bay before the home opener.

"Obviously, it is going to be a very special day," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "There's so much history with the Yankees and with the new stadium, I am sure a lot of people who have meant a lot to this game will be there that day."

The Mets start next season at Cincinnati on April 6, then travel to Florida before coming home for a three-game series against the Padres. On the day the new Yankee Stadium opens, the Mets also will be home, playing San Diego at night.

Back on April 17, 1964, the Mets opened Shea Stadium with a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh, which got a home run and four hits from Willie Stargell.

Next season's MLB schedule opens on April 5 with an ESPN Sunday night broadcast to be determined. The regular season is scheduled to end on Oct. 4. That means if the current postseason format remains intact, Game 7 of the World Series would be on Nov. 5 -- the latest ending ever.

The Yankees may have one or two exhibition games at their new $1.3 billion ballpark before the official opener. The Mets also may schedule exhibition games at $800 million Citi Field but have not made any decisions yet.