Pregame ceremonies will honor the Navy Yard community prior to the 2014 home opener
The Washington Nationals will mark the start of the 2014 season at Nationals Park when the team faces the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. on Friday, April 4, 2014. The day's pregame events will pay tribute to those affected by last September's tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard, located just a few short blocks from Nationals Park.
The Nationals will remember the lives lost and recognize the resolve and compassion demonstrated in the aftermath of the shooting before the start of the game during a special ceremonial first pitch presentation featuring survivors of the tragedy. Jennifer Bennett, a civilian contractor who was shot in the shoulder during the rampage, and the three men who helped keep her alive that day, will be recognized as part of the ceremony. In addition, representatives from the United States Navy, first responders and families of the victims will take part in the pregame events.
OPENING DAY SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Emceed by Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster and CBS News Special Correspondent James Brown, the Opening Day pregame ceremony will include:
* Flags raised by Vice Admiral William Hilarides, Commander Naval Sea Systems Command
* Ceremonial first pitch thrown by Captain Chip Zawislak, and accompanied by Jennifer Bennett, Michael Jackson and Makonnen Eyob
* Color Guard and giant American flag presentation by the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard
* Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful performed by the United States Navy Band Sea Chanters, the official chorus of the United States Navy
* Game ball delivery by Rear Admiral Markham Rich, Commandant of the Naval District Washington
* Starting Eight featuring first responders representing agencies that reacted to the Navy Yard tragedy
* Play Ball announcement made by Danielle Knight, who lost her mother, Mary Knight in the shooting
FAN PROMOTIONS & ENTERTAINMENT
* The first 30,000 fans to enter the ballpark through ALL GATES will receive an Opening Day Cap presented by GEICO
* Festivities on N Street SE will include balloons and fire trucks adorned with a giant American flag
* The Nationals drumline will perform outside Center Field Gate
* The Family Picnic Area will feature caricature artists, face painters and a sign-making station
* Scott's New Band will perform at the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk
Advance tickets to attend Opening Day are sold out, but fans can still purchase Standing Room Only tickets for $20 at nationals.com/tickets or by calling 202.675.NATS (6287), while supplies last. In addition, approximately 400 Grandstand seats will be available for $15 at the Main Box Office starting at 10:30 a.m. on the day of the game. Fans are encouraged to arrive earlier than normal in order to enjoy Opening Day festivities.
The March to Baseball campaign will continue through the end of the month, giving the team's most loyal fans the opportunity to win daily prizes while securing tickets to the hottest matchups of the season. Only a few days remain for fans to renew or purchase a Full Season, 40-Game or 20-Game Plan for the chance to win unprecedented prizes and experience packages. The grand prize, a Nationals road trip experience, will be announced when the Nationals open the season in New York on March 31, 2014. Further details and a full list of prizes are available at nationals.com/MarchToBaseball.
GETTING TO THE BALLPARK
Parking options for Nationals fans start at $10 and are available online at nationals.com/waytogo. Fans are encouraged to purchase parking in advance to ensure they receive a space in their desired zone. Other transportation options include:
* Metro - Nationals Park is located at the Navy Yard-Ballpark station (Half Street exit) on Metro's Green Line and is also accessible by the Capitol South station on Metro's Blue and Orange Lines
* Metrobus - Six Metrobus routes serve stops near the ballpark
* DC Circulator Bus - Runs every 10 minutes from Union Station to the ballpark
* Potomac Riverboat Company - Guests travelling from Alexandria, Va., can take the water taxi service which departs approximately one hour prior to the first pitch
* Fans are also encouraged to use the bicycle valet (located on First Street SE near N Street SE) and bike racks around the ballpark
SECURITY & GATE INFO
Due to an anticipated sellout crowd, fans are encouraged to enter through the gate closest to their seating area to avoid congestion at Center Field Gate. All gates will open at 10:30 a.m. to allow fans more time to enjoy the ballpark and Opening Day festivities. To ensure everyone is in their seats before pregame ceremonies begin, please consider arriving early to the ballpark and leaving backpacks, bags and extra items at home.
For more information about Opening Week, please visit nationals.com/OpeningWeek.