According to an email message sent to the New York Times’ Jack Curry, Bob Sheppard, longtime public address announcer of the New York Yankees, will not be a part of the grand opening ceremonies at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16.

œI think Bob just wants to take it easy and no longer have the pressure of, ˜Can he? Will he? Or won™t he?™ Doherty said in an e-mail message. œAnd, at 98, who can blame him?

Sheppard, when asked to confirm that he was officially retiring, said, œI never said it.

Sheppard has been slowed by a bronchial infection. When asked what his plans were, he said: œI never said I™m not returning. I never, never said I™m not returning and I say it to you now.

Doherty added that Sheppard remained active.

œI™m happy to say that Bob is still doing well enough to drive a car, Doherty said. œHe picked his son up at the train this past weekend.

The last lineup that Sheppard announced was actually his first. Doherty said that two months ago, he had Sheppard recreate the first lineup he did, on April 17, 1951. It included Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.

œNow on to him seeing his 100th birthday in a year and a half, Doherty said.