03/28/2011 6:40 PM ET
Washington Nationals host Atlanta Braves on Opening Weekend
Pregame ceremonies will honor military heroes and local sports legends
The Washington Nationals will honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as local athletes and sports personalities prior to the season opener on Thursday, March 31 when the team faces their NL East rival the Atlanta Braves to kick off Opening Weekend 2011.
WASHINGTON DC SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Beginning at noon, the Nationals will induct the newest class of honorees into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame, which celebrates the outstanding achievements of DC area residents in the world of sports.
This year's inductees include James Brown, Emmy-Award Winning Host of CBS' "The NFL Today" and Showtime's "Inside the NFL"; Dominique Dawes, Olympic Gold Medal Winning Gymnast; Brian Mitchell, Former Washington Redskins Running Back; Willie Stewart, Former Anacostia High School Head Football Coach; Michael Wilbon, Co-Host of ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" and Former Washington Post Columnist; and Morgan Wootten, Former DeMatha High School Head Basketball Coach.
Nationals Park will serve as the new home to the Hall of Fame, which was previously on display at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.
The Nationals will pay tribute to members of the military and their families throughout the pregame ceremonies as part of the team's ongoing dedication to recognizing the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. The DC National Guard, the Armed Forces Color Guard and the U.S. Navy Band will all take part in the festivities, while military children will line the red carpet to greet the Nationals starting lineup as they are introduced. The Ceremonial First Pitch of the 2011 season will be thrown by the following five flag officers representing each branch of the military:
Vice Admiral Michael Vitale of the U.S. Navy
Major General Karl Horst of the U.S. Army
Lieutenant General Richard Y. Newton III of the U.S. Air Force
Lieutenant General Terry G. Robling of the U.S. Marine Corps
Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft of the U.S. Coast Guard
Nationals players Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman will catch the first pitches. DC Sports Hall of Fame inductee James Brown will serve as emcee for the day's pregame festivities and Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray will give the "Play Ball" announcement. The ceremonies will conclude with a flyover by the 113th Fighter Wing stationed at Andrews Air Force Base.
FAN PROMOTIONS & ENTERTAINMENT
The first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark will receive an Opening Day cap presented by GEICO
Half Street festivities will include balloons and street art
Concourse entertainment will feature a traditional ballpark organist performing in CF Plaza
Opening Day tickets are expected to sell out quickly, but the Nationals will once again offer their 400 game day tickets for just $5 at the Main Box Office beginning at 10:35 a.m. Ticket packages (including season tickets, mini plans and flex plans) and parking may be purchased at nationals.com, by calling 202.675.NATS(6287) or by visiting the Nationals Park Main Box Office, located at Half and N Streets, SE.
Fans who can't make it to the season opener are encouraged to come out to Nationals Park and enjoy the continuing festivities of Opening Weekend. Tickets are still available for the remaining games of the first homestand as the Nationals face the Braves on Saturday, April 2 at 1:05 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 1:35 p.m. Several affordable ticket options are available to fans throughout the season:
Single Game Tickets - Fans can always purchase single game tickets online at nationals.com, by calling 888.632.NATS(6287) or by visiting the Nationals Park Main Box Office.
Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack - For all Saturday and Sunday home games, fans may purchase a $14 Upper Right Field Terrace ticket (including prime games) or a $25 Outfield Reserved ticket ($28 for prime games) that includes a hot dog, Coca-Cola/Dasani beverage and chips.
Washington Post Wednesdays - Every Wednesday, fans may receive $5 off tickets valued at $24 or more by presenting the front page of that day's The Washington Post at the Nationals Park Box Office. Two ticket maximum - only valid for that day's game.
Miller Lite Party Nights - On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, fans may purchase a Scoreboard Pavilion seat and a drink voucher for the Miller Lite Scoreboard Walk Bar for $20 ($22 for prime games). Miller Lite Party Nights also feature pregame entertainment and beer specials.
Flex Plans - Starting at just $60 per plan, Nationals fans can choose five games for the price of four.
Power Pack - An all-inclusive season ticket deal, Power Pack plans offer fans the opportunity to purchase one game ticket, one combo meal and one parking pass all season-long for one low price.
Excellent season ticket locations are also available for fans who don't want to miss a minute of the action. To become a Nationals season ticket holder, visit nationals.com/2011 or call 202.675.NATS(6287) - Option #1.
GETTING TO THE BALLPARK
Parking options for Nationals fans range in price from $5 to $40 and are available online at nationals.com/waytogo. Fans are encouraged to purchase parking in advance to ensure they receive a space in their desired zone.
Other transportation options include:
Metro - Nationals Park is located at the Navy Yard station (Half Street exit) on Metro's Green Line.
Metrobus - Six Metrobus routes (70, P1, P2, V7 V8 and V9) serve stops near the ballpark.
DC Circulator Bus - Runs every 10 minutes from Union Station to the ballpark.
Water Taxis - Several water taxi companies run service to Nationals Park from Georgetown, National Harbor, Md., and Alexandria, Va.
SECURITY & GATE INFO
Due to an anticipated sellout crowd for the season opener, the Nationals encourage fans to arrive one to two hours earlier than normal. Gates will open at 10:30 a.m. to allow fans more time to enjoy the ballpark and opening ceremonies, as well as help reduce the risk of having to stand in line at each gate.
To ensure everyone is in their seats before opening ceremonies begin, please allow extra time to arrive at the ballpark early and consider leaving backpacks, bags and extra items at home.
OPENING DAY SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
10:30 a.m. Gates Open - Fans are encouraged to arrive early.
12:00 p.m. Pregame Ceremonies
Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Introduction of the On-Field Host: James Brown, Host of CBS Sports "The NFL Today" and Showtime's "Inside the NFL"
Children of active duty service members will line the red carpet to welcome Nationals players
The U.S. Navy Band will perform the National Anthem and America the Beautiful
Armed Forces Color Guard will present the colors
Giant flags will be unfurled by the DC National Guard
Moment of silence for Japan
Flyover by the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force Base
Silver Slugger Award Presentation: Ryan Zimmerman will be presented with his second consecutive award
General Manager Mike Rizzo will address the crowd
Ceremonial First Pitch: Five Flag Officers, one from each branch of the military
Play Ball Announcer: Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington DC
1:05 p.m. Game Time
ADDITIONAL OPENING WEEKEND INFORMATION
The Nationals will launch a special "text to give" initiative on Opening Day to give fans the opportunity to donate $10 to UNICEF in support of the children of Japan simply by sending a text message. The team will announce additional efforts to benefit the victims of the natural disasters in Japan as they are finalized.
The first 20,000 fans to enter the ballpark on Saturday, April 2 will receive magnet schedules and car magnets presented by ExxonMobil. Legendary broadcaster Larry King will also throw out the Ceremonial First Pitch on Saturday to promote the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.
The Nationals will celebrate the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival on Sunday, April 3 by featuring pregame festivities that commemorate the longstanding friendship between the United States and Japan.