For most teams, Opening Day is finally here. Seemingly every Major League Baseball team opens its season with a bang, welcoming back the fans and players with elaborate pre-game ceremonies. To highlight some of the events taking place today, this special edition of Promotions Watch provides a rundown of every Opening Day ceremony in the majors.
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves, Turner Field.
This marks the final Opening Day at Turner Field, and the Braves are doing plenty to commemorate the occasion. A video tribute to the ballpark will be presented, followed by a parade that features a few members of the 1997 Braves, including manager Bobby Cox as well as Chipper Jones and Fred McGriff. Turner Field opened for baseball in 1997, the year that the Braves captured the National League East title with a major league-best 101-61 record.
Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Fans will be treated to the familiar sight of the Orioles running out on the orange carpet in centerfield, but a few other activities will take place this year. Third baseman Manny Machado will be presented his Gold Glove Award for last season, while 1983 World Series MVP and MASN commentator Rick Dempsey will join state senator Bobby Zirkin in throwing out the ceremonial first pitches.
Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ballpark.
It will be a busy day for former Reds manager Lou Pinella who, after serving as the grand marshal of the Findlay Market Parade, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Reds are also continuing their tradition of designating an honorary Opening Day captain, with the title being bestowed to former left fielder Greg Vaughn.
Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field.
Ohio’s other team will also have a busy Opening Day, with the Indians set to welcome back Kenny Lofton, Travis Hafner, and Bill Selby. Those three players will be recognized for their memorable moments at the ballpark as the Indians introduce Only Here, a campaign that celebrates the tradition of Progressive Field. The ceremonial first pitch will be delivered by Black Keys drummer and Akron native Patrick Carney.
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Angel Stadium.
Much of the focus in Anaheim this year is on the 50th anniversary of Angel Stadium. The ballpark has been the home of the Angels since 1966, and its 51st openers features a solid matchup in the Angels and the Cubs. All fans in attendance will receive a complimentary wall calendar while supplies last.
San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park.
As part of their Opening Day ceremonies, the Brewers will run the 14th annual Klement’s Opening Day Brat Race. Starting at 10:00 a.m. at the Klement’s factory on Chase Avenue, the Famous Racing Sausages will deliver the ceremonial first brat to Miller Park.
Houston Astros at New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium.
With the gates opening at 11:00 a.m., the Yankees will have numerous pre-game activities, including museum and Monument Park tours. This year’s ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by former Yankee Hideki Matsui, whose most memorable accomplishment with the team was his World Series MVP Award in 2009. Matsui will also be given the Pride of the Yankees Award at the 37th annual post-game Homecoming Dinner.
Chicago White Sox at Oakland A’s, O.Co Coliseum.
The A’s will take time during their pre-game ceremonies to honor Dave Henderson and Tony Phillips, two members of the 1989 World Series squad who passed away over the offseason. Both players will be remembered with tributes that include a moment of silence. Ceremonial first pitches will be delivered by Henderson’s sons Trent and Chase Henderson, Phillips’ granddaughter Jade Phillips.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres, Petco Park.
The Padres will kick off the season with an ariel demonstration by the United States Navy parachute team, as well as the unfurling of the Holiday Bowl Big Flag. This year, the flag will be unveiled by 275 Mariners and Sailors from 3D Marine Aircraft. Randy Jones will deliver the ceremonial first pitch to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his Cy Young Award-winning campaign in 1976.
Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park.
Bobby Jones and Tom Grieve—two longtime members of the organization—will be honored for their 50th seasons in professional baseball with ceremonial first pitches, which will be caught by Rangers Rusty Greer and Ivan Rodriguez. Also on tap is the raising of the Rangers’ 2015 American League West Division title banner, as well as a United States Airforce flyover by the 301st Fighter Wing.
As an aside, it should be noted that the Kansas City Royals—who are off today—have a special ceremony planned for Tuesday. Prior to the game against the New York Mets, the Royals will present their 2015 World Series rings. The championship banner was raised at Kauffman Stadium before last night’s contest.