Opening Day is a tremendous celebration for baseball cities, but logistics require that at least half of the major league teams open their seasons on the road.
Nine teams have yet to compete in front of their home crowd. Seven of those nine will host their home openers today, complete with all the fanfare and festivity of a typical Opening Day. Today’s home openers are described in more detail below.
Boston Red Sox – 2:05 p.m.
Clay Buchholz will get the start against Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen in the Red Sox home opener. Pre-game festivities scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., and they will include a choral performance honoring the 60th anniversary of the team’s charity, and a fly-over by two World War II vintage P-51 Mustangs.
Chicago Cubs – 2:20 p.m.
Chicago’s Edwin Jackson will take on Marco Estrada of the Milwaukee Brewers in this one.
Team officials have hinted at several giveaways for fans today, including replicas of the glove worn by Cubs infielder Darwin Barney (1,000 gold replicas, 10,000 regular), magnetic schedules, slap wrist watches and bobbleheads.
Cleveland Indians – 4:05 p.m.
Ubaldo Jiminez of the Indians will take on New York Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda in the Tribe’s first home game.
The celebration at Progressive Field will feature a magnetic schedule give away, and ceremonial first pitches thrown out by the fathers of players and members of the coaching staff.
Kansas City Royals – 4:10 p.m.
Kansas City gives the ball to Ervin Santana. He will be matched up agains Minnesota Twins right hander Kevin Correia.
The Royals will be celebrating their 40th anniversary of Kauffman Stadium. The pre-game ceremony will recognize Billy Butler for winning the 2012 Silver Slugger Award at designated hitter and Alex Gordon, who will be presented with the 2012 Gold Glove Award.
St. Louis Cardinals – 4:15 p.m.
Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals will square off against Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds, but before first pitch St. Louis plans to honor the memory of Hall of Famer and Cardinal legend Stan Musial, who passed away this year.
Musial’s full children will unveil an outfield marker honoring “The Man”, and the team will host a full tribute on Friday.
St. Louis’ home-opener celebration will also feature the Budweiser Clydesdales and a ceremonial first pitch thrown by former closer Jason Isringhausen to former outfielder Jim Edmonds.
Miami Marlins – 7:10 p.m.
Miami’s Kevin Slowey takes on Atlanta’s Paul Maholm, as the Marlins kick off their second season at Marlins Park.
The Marlins are so starved for Opening Night attendance that they are offering a special promotion to fill the stands tonight: buy a ticket for Opening Night and receive a complimentary ticket to any home game in April or May.
Seattle Mariners – 10:10 p.m.
The Mariners call on Joe Saunders to oppose perfect-game thrower and Houston Astro Phil Humber.
Jamie Moyer, Seattle’s all time wins leader, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. There will be a performance by Seattle band Pickwick, the realization of a Make-a-Wish Foundation dream come true for an 11-year-old who recently underwent a liver transplant, and fireworks during the announcement of the home team’s lineup.