After months of Spring Training and then a week on the road, the Yankees return home to the Stadium. With the team coming off of its 27th World Championship, the festivities are expected to be grand.
The centerpiece of the occasion will be the raising of the first championship flag to fly atop the new Yankee Stadium. In a nod to the team’s past, and perhaps what little remains of the old place across the street, the Yankees will also ring the ballpark with the other 26 championship banners that have been accumulated over the years. Talk about a peacock displaying his feathers.
With the Boss looking on, the players and coaches from last year’s team will receive their World Series rings in a pre-game ceremony presided over by Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra, who won a combined 16 World Series titles. Bernie Williams, himself a four-time World Series champion, has been tapped for the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Bernie will become the ninth former Yankee player to deliver an Opening Day first pitch. The last two so honored were Reggie Jackson, who threw out the last “first” pitch at the old Stadium, and Yogi Berra, who opened up the new Stadium.
Finally, 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.
Another fortuitous part of the ceremony will be the presentation of a championship ring to the 2009 World Series MVP. Thanks to the luck of the draw, the Yankee Stadium faithful will get to welcome Hideki Matsui back as a visiting Angel. A long and loud standing ovation should be in order for Matsui, who spent seven classy and productive seasons with the Yankees.
What’s on the Program?
- Gates open –11:00AM
- Championship Flags are unveiled – 12:00PM
- Ring Ceremony begins – 12:15AM
- National Anthem Sung by Emmy and Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth
- Flyover By VFC
- Bernie Williams throws out first pitch
- Yankees begin defense of 27th World Championship – 1:05PM