Brewers' Randolph Takes Part in New Yankee Stadium Opener
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers' schedule worked out just right for Willie Randolph to make it back for the opening of the new Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
Randolph, a six-time all-star second baseman who played 13 of his 18 seasons for the Yankees, joined Milwaukee in the offseason as the bench coach under first-year manager Ken Macha.
The Brewers are off Thursday and begin a three-game series in New York against the Mets on Friday, providing Randolph the perfect opportunity to make it to his former team's first game in its luxurious new $1.5 billion stadium.
"It works out perfectly," Randolph said Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to it. I got a tour of the stadium as it just got done, I saw it coming together pretty nicely."
Still, Randolph admitted, "it's going to be a little weird."
Randolph isn't quite sure what the team has planned for he and other returning former players in terms of pregame ceremonies, but figures it will be emotional for him.
"A lot of great memories and a lot of good times there," Randolph said. "They say that the new one looks very similar in some ways, so we're excited about going back and seeing what it looks like."
And while former players think of their teammates first when recalling their favorite baseball memories, Randolph said the setting is important, too.
"In a way, it is," Randolph said. "That's where you learn how to play the game -- the surroundings, the atmosphere, the memories. You remember where you were at a particular time. So it's all about, really, the memories more than anything."
Randolph, who was fired as the Mets' manager in the middle of last season, interviewed to become the Brewers' new manager and didn't get the job -- but he agreed to join the staff after Macha was hired.
Randolph has said he wants to manage again, and said at the time of his hiring that his contract with the Brewers allows him to leave if he gets another offer to manage.
But Randolph already is helping his new team, earning some of the credit for offseason fielding improvements made by Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)