Friday, March 24, 2006

It's official

President George W. Bush will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Cincinnati Reds’ Opening Day game against the Chicago Cubs.

The Reds and Cubs will play Monday, April 3 at 2:10 p.m. ET at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Chief executive officer Bob Castellini said, “We’re proud to announce that the President will join us for the start of this new beginning for Cincinnati Reds baseball.”

President George Herbert Walker Bush threw out the first pitch in 2003, the inaugural regular-season game at Great American Ball Park. Vice President Dick Cheney had the honor in 2004 and U.S. Representative Rob Portman last season.

George W. Bush will be the first sitting president ever to throw out an Opening Day first pitch in the Queen City and only the second sitting president to participate in that pre-game ceremony here. President Richard M. Nixon threw out the first pitch prior to the 1970 All-Star Game at Riverfront Stadium.

Other Opening Day festivities include:

* Reds Hall of Fame pitcher Mario Soto will be the grand marshal of the 87th Findlay Market Parade.

* SS Felipe Lopez will receive his 2005 Silver Slugger Award.

* CF Ken Griffey Jr. will receive 2005 National League Comeback Player of the Year Awards from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association.

* Cincinnati resident and jazz artist Kathy Wade will sing our National Anthem.

* The anthem will be highlighted by a flyover of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, operated by the Indiana Army National Guard in Shelbyville, Indiana.

* During the seventh-inning stretch, Cincinnati fireman John Winfrey will sing God Bless America.

Other info:

Gates To Open At 10:10 A.M. Because of increased security on Opening Day, the gates at Great American Ball Park will open to fans at 10:10 a.m., 4 hours prior to gametime. Prior to entry, all fans will be screened and all carry-in items will be inspected. Fans will not be admitted with glass bottles, soft drink cans, aerosol cans, umbrellas, poles, sticks, horns, other noise makers or laser pointers. Fans can bring in soft drinks and water provided they are in clear plastic bottles with the seal unbroken. Insulated foam cups/containers are prohibited. In an effort to control the flow of the public through the ballpark gates, fans are discouraged from bringing to the game strollers, large bags, backpacks, coolers, camcorders, cameras with extended lenses or banners/signs. Pursuant to Major League Baseball regulations, no bags larger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches will be permitted inside the ballpark.

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