By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fans are getting ready for the Phillies home opener this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
After a slow start in Atlanta, the Phils return to South Philadelphia, where fans remain confident, “Yeah, we’re going to have definitely a winning season. No problem.”
The 4:05 p.m. sold-out home opener is an interleague game against the Kansas City Royals. But, Phils publicity director John Brazer says it’ll include all of the pregame traditions, including the team’s grand entrance on a red carpet in centerfield.
“They come in from Phillies Way and they come in through Ashburn Alley and down the stairs almost through the bullpen and onto the field. And it’s a tradition we started, I believe about 10 years ago. And it’s continued.”
Another continuing tradition is the Frog-x team made up of former Navy Leap Frogs, parachuting in with the ceremonial first ball.
Fans entering the ballpark for today’s 4:05 p.m. game will get Opening Day rally towels. Phils merchandising director Scott Brandreth says it’s an electric sight when more than 40,000 towels are spinning.
“Obviously something good has happened to make all the fans do that with the towels and it adds a tremendous amount of presence to the ballpark and atmosphere.”
The contest will be a rematch of the 1980 World Series, with two Hall of Famers on hand for the ceremonial first pitch, says publicity director Brazer.
“Probably around 4:00 for a 4:05 start, we’re going to have NL MVP 1980 World Champion Mike Schmidt will be throwing to former Royals third baseman and 1980 AL MVP George Brett.”
Keep an eye out for Dickie Noles, who famously knocked-down Brett to turn the tide of that World Series.