PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Their record notwithstanding, the Phillies open their home season this afternoon with tradition and pageantry.
The first home baseball game of the season always has its share of ceremony and celebration. Outside the ballpark the Phillies throw their traditional opening day block party – this year, with a ferris wheel.
The team will make their traditional march through Ashburn Alley and down onto the field, with fans selected to high-five them along the way. The Philadelphia Boys Choir will sing ‘God Bless America’ and ‘America the Beautiful.’
Then, just before the 3 p.m. game against the Padres, the ceremonial first ball will be delivered from above, says Phillies publicity director John Brazer.
“As always, the U.S. Navy Leapfrogs will be parachuting into the ballpark with the first pitch,” Brazer said. “And they’re going to give the ball once they land to Officer Josh Hartnett, who is the police officer who was ambushed in West Philly.”
The National Anthem will be performed by Kane Kalas. Wednesday is the seventh anniversary of his father Harry Kalas’s death.
Brazer says, the most visible change at the ballpark is a new 13-by-47-foot video board.
“That is definitely the biggest change. You can see that in right field, above right field,” he says. “Some people were complaining that in certain parts of the ballpark you couldn’t see the PhanaVision, So this alleviates that problem. So it’s tremendous — a tremendous board.”
Brazer says the home opener is a combination of work and pleasure.
“All the thrills and the fun and the tradition and the pomp and the circumstance and the pageantry. It’s a lot of fun. Opening Day is always very special,” Brazer says. “I always say it’s like Christmas and your birthday and New Year’s all rolled up into one.”