Opening Day festivities
You might have noticed that I didn’t travel to St. Louis with the team, instead getting the chance to come home and get settled back in after many weeks away. Anyways, before I go restock my kitchen at Giant Eagle, I wanted to pass along this Opening Day information announced by the team today. Thanks to the Pirates for also sending over a photo of the field getting ready for Thursday.
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly and general manager Neal Huntington will announce the recipient of the annual “Pride of the Pirates” award, which will be announced later this week. The award was created in 1990 to recognize members of the Pirates family who have demonstrated the qualities of sportsmanship, dedication and outstanding character during a lifetime of service to the organization.
- Legendary Pirates manager Chuck Tanner, who passed away this past offseason, will be honored for his outstanding work as a longtime member of the Pirates family. Members of his family and several former Pirates players who played under Tanner will be on-field for this special tribute. Players attending include John Candelaria, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Parker and Kent Tekulve.
- A tribute to Chuck Tanner will be unveiled and displayed at PNC Park all season long.
- A video tribute will be played on the videoboard containing interviews with Chuck as well as testimonials from Pirates Alumni.
- A color guard consisting of local representatives from all five military branches will take the field.
- Soon-to-be retired Master Sergeant Ron Heitzenrater of the United States Air Force will be honored after recently returning from Afghanistan, which was his fifth tour of duty over the span of a 36-year military career.
- A moment of silence will also take place to honor members of the Pirates family who passed away, as well as those who were impacted by the recent natural disasters in Japan.
- God Bless America will be performed by Captain Sarah Micklo of the United States Air Force and Pennsylvania 171 Air Refueling Wing, and the Star Spangled Banner will be performed by Youngstown, Ohio native and saxophonist for rock band O.A.R., Jerry DePizzo.
- The game time first pitch will be thrown out by Bruce Tanner, son of Chuck Tanner, and will be caught by Manny Sanguillen, who was a member of the 1979 Tanner-led World Series Champion Pirates.
- Pirates Charities will collect donations at the gates to benefit the victims of the natural disasters in Japan. All proceeds will be donated to UNICEF.
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