The New York Yankees will be sharing their valuable turf in the Bronx with New York City's new professional soccer team next year — at least on a temporary basis.
That's when New York City FC will play its inaugural Major League Soccer season at Yankee Stadium and most likely several more while the club looks for a permanent site for a soccer-specific stadium in one of the five boroughs — and possibly outside of the city.
NYC FC will play at least 17 home games in 2015.
As it stands, this arrangement between the MLS and MLB clubs is obviously less than ideal — and obviously a temporary solution. And for the first time, Yankee president Randy Levine said the co-owners might consider a site outside the five boroughs if no place can be found in the city for a soccer-specific stadium.
"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 Monday. "We're not going to create artificial deadlines. We're only going to get one shot to do it."
Asked if Major League Baseball had concerns of field overuse, 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 on hand for Monday's press conference. He was not concerned about pitching on the mound after repeated reconstructions.
"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 usually in the postseason, NYC FC can't schedule home games during its October stretch run.