LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. -- The spring showers in Monday's forecast won't keep the large crowd away from the Phillies' first game of the season, where right-hander Brett Myers will begin the team's National League East title defense.
Myers is scheduled to face the Nationals' Matt Chico in a 3:05 p.m. ET start at Citizens Bank Park."I'm ready to start the season," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We're ready to go. If [the players] say they're ready, let's see."
The fanfare starts Monday at noon with an Opening Day Block Party on Citizens Bank Way, featuring food and music by Mr. Greengenes, the band that rocked the pep rally at City Hall after the Phillies clinched the NL East last year. Inside the park, batting practice for the Phillies starts at 12:20 p.m. The Fralinger String Band, six-time first-place winners of Philadelphia's New Year's Day Mummers parade, will play when the Phillies parade into the ballpark at 2:25 p.m. Musical entertainment will also include the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Mens' Chorale singing "America the Beautiful," and 6-year-old trumpet prodigy Geoffrey Gallante playing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch. The national anthem will be performed by Patti LaBelle's Boom Boom Choir. Completing the patriotic mood, members of the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guards will unfurl the American flag. State flags will be carried onto the field by Philadelphia Police and Fire Department personnel. Weather permitting, the first ball will be brought to the field by the U.S. Army Golden Knights. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as well as Jon Powell, president of the Kravco Simon Company, representing Modell's Sporting Goods. All fans will be waving their 2007 NL East champions pennant, compliments of Modell's. "The good thing [about Opening Day] is, at the end of the day, it counts," Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "It's on record."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.