NEW YORK (AP) -- The beginning of the end will have to wait.
The final Opening Day at Yankee Stadium was postponed because of rain Monday, pushing back New York's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.It was rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, previously an off day in the series. Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and Toronto ace Roy Halladay remained slated to pitch."It's obviously a little anticlimactic. You want to get the first one in," Alex Rodriguez said. "Just have to wait."New York owner George Steinbrenner showed up around noon for the 84th Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, but history was put on hold by steady rain and a wet forecast that washed away batting practice and the planned festivities.The tarp was still on the field when the game was called at about 2:30 p.m. after a delay of approximately 85 minutes. Players never got introduced, and Joe Girardi's debut as Yankees manager was postponed."I'm cautious about tomorrow, too," New York GM Brian Cashman said. "Tomorrow night is supposed to be dry, tomorrow day is supposed to be similar to what we just had."It's obviously not the way you want to start. You'd like to have Opening Day instead of Opening Night. But you do what you've got to do. It's still going to be Opening Day."Next year, the Bronx Bombers will move into a $1.3 billion new Yankee Stadium, under construction just across 161st Street."You see the new stadium, but it still seems like that's years away, even though it's only one," Derek Jeter said. "Just 100 yards away? That's not too far for the ghosts to go."The Yankees have won 10 consecutive home openers, the best run in franchise history and the longest active streak in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.The last time a Yankee Stadium opener was postponed came in 2003, when New York's game against Minnesota was snowed out. The next day, Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam during his debut in pinstripes."There's so many memories here that go beyond baseball," Jeter said.The irony of the schedule, of course, is that Toronto plays its home games in a dome. If the teams had opened in Canada, weather wouldn't have been an issue."It would make sense, you would think," Jeter said with a chuckle.New York is now scheduled to play 20 days in a row before its first off day April 21. But the Yankees have trips to Kansas City, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Cleveland in April, so bad weather could force a few more postponements."Earlier in the year your starters aren't conditioned to go six, seven innings, so you may have to use your bullpen," Girardi said. "But we feel we have enough arms down there."Girardi is taking over this season from his mentor, Joe Torre, who spent the past 12 years in charge.Torre guided New York to the playoffs every season from 1996-2007 and won four World Series rings in his first five years. He walked away in the offseason when the club offered him just a one-year contract with a pay cut, then quickly was hired to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers.Girardi met with reporters Monday morning and said he slept great the previous night."This is an awesome day for me," he said.In the end, though, it surely wasn't what he -- or the Blue Jays -- had in mind."Yeah, you're disappointed," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You know Opening Day is always special and then you've got to delay it one more day, but you're better off that way than playing in lousy conditions."The rainout means there still has never been a regular-season game in March at Yankee Stadium, christened by Babe Ruth's homer before 74,200 fans on Opening Day in 1923. The Yankees played at Shea Stadium, home of the Mets, from 1974-75 while Yankee Stadium was being remodeled."Everyone gets excited. You have butterflies and those kind of things. You want to get the games under way," Jeter said. "It's disappointing, but we couldn't have played today."
Shannon Stewart was penciled in to start in LF for Toronto instead of Matt Stairs, who has a sore left hip. Stairs was supposed to be available off the bench, and the Blue Jays said they don't plan to put him on the disabled list. "Just go day to day right now," general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. ... Monday was Wang's 28th birthday. ... The Yankees have won 15 of their past 16 home openers and 21 of 24. ... Monday's tickets can be used for Tuesday night's opener or exchanged for any regular-season game at Yankee Stadium within the next year (subject to availability).