Baseball and soccer are eager to show the world the two sports can coexist at Yankee Stadium next year.
That's when New York City FC will play its inaugural Major League Soccer season at the stadium and most likely several more while the club secures a permanent site for a soccer-specific stadium in the five boroughs.
"We're going to take whatever time is necessary to get it right," NYC FC chief business officer Tim Pernetti said at a Yankee Stadium news conference yesterday. "We're not going to create artificial deadlines. We're only going to get one shot to do it."
Yankees and NYC FC officials were confident there would be no hiccups. NYC FC will play at least 17 home games.
Asked if Major League Baseball had concerns of field overuse, Yankees president Randy Levine replied, "They think we know what we're doing. We know what we're doing."
Converting the field from one sport to another takes about three days. "We can work it in," Yankees COO Lonn Trost said. "We've analyzed it. We have tested it against existing schedules."
The Yankees' biggest challenge is removing and rebuilding the pitcher's mound before and after each soccer game. The ground crew would put a base under the mound and remove it using a claw-like structure.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the soccer team's first season-ticket holder, was not concerned if he had to pitch on that mound. "I don't think we have to worry about that because like Randy says, we know what we're doing," he said.
The stands will be downsized from a 49,642-seat baseball capacity to 33,444 for soccer, except for selected matches.
Since the Yankees are regular postseason participants, NYC FC can't schedule home games during its October stretch run.
"It's pretty clear we're not going to do anything to affect the Yankee schedule," Levine said.