World Series rings, Bernie Williams and a former cast member of The West Wing. I’m sold! Here’s the press release from the Yankees.
The New York Yankees will hold the 108th home opener in franchise history on Tuesday, April 13 vs. the Los Angeles Angels at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. Prior to the first pitch, the Yankees will celebrate their 2009 World Championship with a ring ceremony.
Gates will open to fans with valid tickets beginning at 11:00 a.m. The Yankees ask their fans to please budget ample time when planning their trip to the Stadium and to consider using public transportation.
Festivities will begin at 12:15 p.m. with a ceremony to award Yankees players and coaching staff with their championship rings from the 2009 season. Hall of Famers and former Yankees greats Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra—who won a combined 16 World Series titles—will be on hand to help pass out the commemorative rings to the defending World Champions in a ceremony on the infield.
In addition to the ring ceremony, the Yankees’ 2009 championship flag—as well as flags commemorating each of the Yankees’ other 26 World Championships—will be on display for the Opening Day ceremony and game, encompassing the roof of the entire Stadium.
Kristin Chenoweth, Emmy and Tony Award winner and star of stage and screen who is starring in the upcoming Broadway musical “Promises, Promises,” will perform the National Anthem. Colors will be presented by the West Point color guard, and a giant American flag will be unfurled in the outfield by the West Point Cadets. At the conclusion of the anthem, the Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC-12), a US Navy Reserve fighter squadron, will execute a fly over. Known as the “Fighting Omars,” the VFC-12 is one of the Navy’s two Reserve Hornet squadrons.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by five-time All-Star Bernie Williams, a member of the Yankees’ run of four World Championships in five years from 1996-2000. It will mark the first time that Williams—who threw out the first pitch prior to Yankees’ 2009 ALCS Game 6 clincher—will throw out an Opening Day ceremonial first pitch. He will become the ninth former Yankees player to be bestowed the Opening Day honor.
During the seventh-inning stretch, United States Army Sergeant First Class Mary Kay Messenger will perform “God Bless America.”