Fans attending today's Yankees home opener probably will have the same reaction Joe Girardi did when he saw what has become of old Yankee Stadium.

"I was actually shocked when we drove by on the bus [Sunday] night," Girardi said. "It almost looked like ruins."

It's true. Old Yankee Stadium is in the final stages of being torn down. Only a small section of the outer wall remains, and hardhats were working on it during yesterday's media session at the current stadium.

Piles of rubble and debris sit on what used to be the famous playing field. The House That Ruth Built is mostly a hulking mass of twisted steel and metal.

Everything that could be sold has been carefully picked off. Eventually, the shell will be completely gone, but until then, fans arriving on the No. 4 train or the Major Deegan Expressway will get a nearly unobstructed view of the new stadium.

That wasn't the case last year, when the old stadium stood partially shrouded in black construction nylon during the Yankees' championship season.

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"When we took the field last year, it was sad when you see that ballpark still sitting over there," Andy Pettitte said.

Some of the Yankees got their first look at the changes Sunday night when they returned from their season-opening road trip. For many, it was the first time they had seen the area since the aftermath of the sixth game of the World Series.

"We drove in and the guys were like, 'The stadium's gone,' " Pettitte said. "I was looking and I was like, 'I think a little bit of it was still up.' That was strange to see it gone. But it's gone and it's not going back up. It was really cool to look through there. It was a great view of the new stadium."

Girardi wondered if the absence of the old stadium will change some of the wind currents in the new one and perhaps lead to fewer home runs.

"Now that we've been here for a year, I think we have a pretty good idea of how it's going to play," Girardi said. "But is that going to change because the ballpark next door is torn down? I'm not saying that. But I'm just wondering if it's going to change now. I don't know."