Without George Steinbrenner, there wouldn't be a new stadium opening in the Bronx on April 16th. As much as he blustered about a stadium on Manhattan's west side or in New Jersey, you could tell he was never doing it for any reason other than to make sure he got what he wanted in the Bronx. That's not exactly noble, but it does keep the Yankees where they belong for the long run.
So it's good to hear that he'll be there to celebrate the opening of the new park when CC Sabathia takes the hill against the Indians. With the team in the hands of his sons, and his age advancing, Big Stein may not have many big moments left. He probably won't be an integral part of the festivities, he's using a wheelchair and Newsday reports that he's got an FDR like-aversion to posing in the chair, but he'll be there and that's a good thing.
What's not such of a good thing is the news that Bob Sheppard probably won't be greeting him or any of the other masses. Sheppard, who missed the entire 2008 season with a bronchial infection, doesn't have the stamina to make it to the Stadium, according to his wife. He still hopes to make it to the park later in the season.
While Sheppard's voice is as much of a part of Yankee Stadium as Monument Park, the move to a new building may offer the team a chance to make a graceful move to another public address announcer. Last year's faux-Sheppard didn't work, it sounded wrong and more than a little creepy. If Sheppard himself is well enough to work a few games, great, but, in his late 90's, he's never going to work a full schedule again. It's a good time to establish a new voice for the new stadium, rather than try to ape a legendary voice that can't ever be duplicated.