When the Yankees closed their old stadium last September, the final lineup was introduced by legendary public-address announcer Bob Sheppard via a recording. Sheppard had been ill for some time — he’d missed the entire 2008 season while recovering from a bronchial infection, in fact — and couldn’t make the trip to the Bronx for one final game in the ballpark he’d worked in since 1951. So imagine our glee when we read the answer to the third question in this article on the Yankees’ website last week, in which Sheppard is quoted as saying he’s hoping to be ready in time for the Yankees’ first exhibition game on April 3. Talk about burying the lead!, we thought.
Unfortunately, that good feeling only lasted until we came across this article in Newsday, in which Sheppard’s wife, Mary, says that as much as he’d love to be ready by then, “he doesn’t have the stamina yet to go back at this time.” Hopefully, the Yankees will once again at least ask Sheppard to record introductions for the starting lineup on Opening Day. Either that, or start working double-time on the computerized Bob Sheppard that once seemed so promising.