04/02/12 10:00 AM ET
Orioles unveil plans for park's 20th anniversary
First battery of Sutcliffe, Hoiles to do first-pitch honors on Friday
By Andrew Simon / Special to MLB.com
On Friday, exactly 20 years later, the Orioles will kick off the stadium's anniversary season when they host the Twins in the 2012 opener at 3:05 p.m. ET. The battery from that first game -- Sutcliffe and catcher Chris Hoiles -- will pair up for the ceremonial first pitch, one of several ways the club will honor the milestone on Opening Day and throughout the season.
For example, during every Orioles 2012 home game, the team will use baseballs stamped with the 20th anniversary logo. Fans will be able to purchase the commemorative baseballs at Camden Yards or at Orioles.com.
But before the first commemorative ball is put into play, fans will be treated to a variety of Opening Day pregame events.
The festivities will begin at 12 p.m., when the ballpark will open ahead of batting practice, which starts at 12:25 p.m. for the Orioles and 1:25 p.m. for the Twins. Upon entering the gates, each fan will receive a 2012 schedule/car magnet and can enjoy the musical groups roaming around Eutaw Street and the main concourses.
The pregame ceremonies, hosted by MASN personality Jim Hunter, will start at 2:30 p.m.
Players and coaches from both teams will be introduced. After Sutcliffe's pitch to Hoiles, tenor Rolando Sanz will perform the National Anthem and God Bless America, while a large American flag from Fort McHenry is unfurled over the center field batter's eye.
The festivities will conclude with right fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Matt Wieters receiving their 2011 Gold Glove Awards, a first for both players.
The 20th anniversary celebration will extend beyond the Opening Day ceremonies and the commemorative baseballs.
The club will unveil large bronze sculptures of six legendary Orioles throughout the season, to be located in the improved bullpen picnic grove and accessible for fans year-round, even during non-gameday hours. The works, created by renowned Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias "Toby" Mendez, will be dedicated at different 2012 games: Frank Robinson on April 28; Brooks Robinson on May 12; Earl Weaver on June 30; Jim Palmer on July 14; Eddie Murray on Aug. 11; and Cal Ripken Jr. on Sept. 6.
The club also has upgraded the ballpark with features including a new roof deck above the center field batter's eye, the Art of the Game sports art gallery and food options like Dempsey's Brew Pub and Restaurant, named for former Orioles catcher and 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey.
Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.