By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With tradition and pageantry, the Phillies open their 2012 home season when Cole Hamels throws out the first pitch at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon against the Miami Marlins.
It has become a familiar Opening Day sight at Citizens Bank Park: The Phillies team parading in from center field, high-fiving fans along the way.
Phillies’ marketing specialist John Brazer says the “Leadoff Walk” begins outside the ballpark.
“Fans can line up on 10th Street and they will basically lead the Phillies players on their ‘Leadoff Walk’ into the ballpark. They’re going to be escorted by the Cardinal O’Hara High School marching band as well as the Budweiser Clydesdales. So it should be pretty exciting for fans and players.”
Today’s opener will be immersed in the traditions fans know, including the huge American flag unfurled in the outfield and the traditional performance by the Philadelphia Boys Choir.
“The Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men’s Chorale will be singing ‘America the Beautiful,’ and then after we do the player introductions and the moment of silence, we’re going to have the national anthem. Again, the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men’s Chorale — we’ve had them for years. And that’s one of our longstanding traditions.”
And right after that, “The Leap Frogs, the U.S. Navy parachute team will parachute onto the field bringing in the first ball, bringing in the pennant. It’s a pretty spectacular time, and we’ve been doing this for years.”
And Brazer says after the Navy Leap Frogs parachute in with the first ball, a local hero will deliver the first pitch: “The University of Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne. She is a basketball star. She led the nation in scoring. And you remember, she went to U Conn for a little bit. But she transferred back to Delaware to be closer to her sister Lizzie who has cerebral palsy. So it’s a nice story. Lizzie and Elena are big Phillies fans.”
Another packed house is expected today in what will be the Phillies’ 205th consecutive sellout.