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What You Need to Know About Opening Day at Nationals Park

The scoop on the season kickoff, happening Monday.

Nationals Park. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

Washington welcomes its baseball team back to Nationals Park on Monday with an opening day game against the Miami Marlins. My colleague, and pronounced Phillies fan, Harry Jaffe excepted, most baseball experts are predicting a strong season for the reigning National League East division champions. One reason: The lineup includes some of the sport’s brightest stars, namely Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Wilson Ramos, plus new additions Rafael Soriano and Denard Span.

There are still stadium tickets available, but they are standing room only. All advance seat tickets are sold out. The SRO tickets are $20 at the box office or online. An additional 400 grandstand seats, at $15 apiece, will be available at the main box office starting at 10:30 AM on game day.

The forecast is for “sweater weather”—60s, sunshine, slimmest chance of rain. The actual game begins at 1:05 PM. It will be broadcast on television on MASN, WUSA-9, and on the radio at 106.7 FM and 1500 AM.

Here’s what you need to know about opening day at Nats Park:

  • The gates open at 10:30 AM, two and a half hours before the first pitch. Expect to see lots of balloons, fire trucks adorned with US flags, and a drumline at Center Field Gate.
  • The first 20,000 fans through the gates will receive a special opening day cap.
  • The host of the pregame show is CBS sportscaster James Brown.
  • The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Medal of Honor recipient and former staff sergeant Clint Romesha.
  • The game ball will be delivered by the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Sandy Winefeld.
  • DC mayor Vincent Gray will deliver the lineup card
  • The US Army Chorus Quartet will handle the duties of performing the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
  • A “giant” American flag will be unfurled by members of the DC Air National Guard and the DC National Guard.
  • There will be awards as well as a special appearance by children of deployed service members and the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.

After all that, it’s time to play ball!

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