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Orioles Opening Day Expected To Be A Big Hit

BALTIMORE (WJZ/BALTIMORE ORIOLES) --- This coming Friday will be Opening Day for Orioles baseball.

The team will face the Minnesota Twins on Friday, April 6, at 3:05 p.m., 20 years to the day that Camden Yards hosted its first regular season game in 1992. The team just released some of its special plans for that day.

To allow fans the opportunity to experience the excitement of Opening Day, the entire ballpark will open at noon on Friday. Each fan will receive a 2012 schedule and car magnet at the gates. Roving musical groups will entertain fans on Eutaw Street and the main concourses.

Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 2:30 p.m., when pre-game ceremonies will begin. MASN personality Jim Hunter will serve as emcee for the pre-game festivities.

In a continuation of the Opening Day tradition, Orioles players and coaches will be introduced prior to the game. Orioles players will run through the center field gate on an orange carpet and take their places between first and second base. Manager Buck Showalter, coaches and staff will be introduced from the Orioles dugout. Members of the Twins will be announced and will run from their dugout to line up between second and third base.

In a pairing of 1992 Opening Day batterymates, former Orioles pitcher Rick Sutcliffe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Orioles Hall of Fame catcher Chris Hoiles. Sutcliffe was the first pitcher to take the mound at Camden Yards in 1992, throwing a five-hit shutout in a 2-0 Orioles' win over the Cleveland Indians.

For the 19th straight season, one fan will be chosen to represent all Orioles fans as the team's "10th man". The fan will be introduced as a part of the Orioles starting lineup during the pre-game ceremonies.

OriolesREACH has arranged for 80 youth from local Girl Scout troops to line the orange carpet holding Orioles flags during player introductions. The Girl Scouts are celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2012.

Representing The Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, tenor Rolando Sanz will perform the National Anthem and God Bless America. Sanz recently made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the role of Kostik in the world premiere of Prokofiev's lost opera Dalëkie Morja (Distant Seas).

During the anthem, a 30'x 42' American flag from Fort McHenry will be unfurled over the batter's eye wall in center field. The flag is a replica of the one that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem.

Colors will be presented by the Fort McHenry Guard in celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The group consists of men and women, National Park Service personnel and volunteers, who represent the defenders of Baltimore and Fort McHenry: the Field Music in scarlet and white; the Corps of Artillery, the Baltimore Fencibles, the Sea Fencibles, and the citizens of Baltimore who supported them.

Rawlings established the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 1957 to recognize the best fielders at each position; it has evolved into baseball's greatest measure of defensive excellence. Every year, managers and coaches of each Major League Baseball team select a squad of the best defensemen in their respective leagues, excluding their own teams.

In 2011, right fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Matt Wieters were named Gold Glove Award winners at their respective positions. Both were first-time recipients. In a pre-game ceremony, a representative from Rawlings will present Markakis and Wieters with their Gold Glove Awards.

Read more about the changes coming to Oriole Park at Camden Yards this year.

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