The Nationals will celebrate opening day 2011 without presidential fanfare. According to a team release, the first pitch will be thrown by five flag officers representing each branch of the military. The team’s military tribute will include a pregame ceremony and military children lining up to greet Nationals players on the red carpet. The ceremony is scheduled to include a flyover by the 113th Fighter Wing stationed at Andrews Air Force Base.
The Nationals will also be the new home of the Washington D.C. Sports Hall of Fame, which moves from RFK Stadium. The Nationals will honor the organization’s new inductees in an opening day pregame ceremony. This year’s inductees include James Brown, Dominique Dawes, Brian Mitchell, Willie Stewart, Michael Wilbon and Morgan Wootten.
Additionally, inductee Brown will serve as emcee of the pregame ceremony, while Mayor Vincent Gray will give the “Play Ball” announcement.
The first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark will receive an opening day cap. The gates open at 10:35 a.m. and pregame ceremonies begin at noon. Before the game, Ryan Zimmerman will be presented with his Silver Slugger award and General Manager Mike Rizzo will address the crowd.
The Nationals will also launch a special “text to give” initiative on opening day to give fans the opportunity to donate $10 to UNICEF in support of the children of Japan simply by sending a text message.
There will also be one final opportunity to purchase tickets at the main box office beginning at 10:35 a.m. Thursday. Only 400 $5 gameday tickets will be available for purchase.