- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2007

With new ownership in place on Opening Day for the first time, the Washington Nationals will offer a little bit of everything for the team’s first season opener Monday at RFK Stadium, including performances by three musical groups, an appearance by the grandson of Walter Johnson and a flyover by two F-18 Super Hornet jets.

Fans can enter the ballpark beginning at 11:30 a.m., and will be greeted by the Dixie Devils, a New Orleans jazz band. Face painters and caricaturists will be near the front gate, and fans also will receive free red “curly W” hats upon entering the stadium.

Other pregame festivities will begin at 12:15 p.m. and will include a performance by the U.S. Army Chorale and the presentation of a giant American Flag by the National Guard Youth Challenge Program Cadets and Honor Guard. The U.S. Army Marching Band and Herald Trumpets will perform the national anthem.

President Bush is not expected to attend because of a scheduling conflict, Nationals president Stan Kasten said. The ceremonial first pitch ceremonies will include Hank Thomas, the grandson of Johnson, the Hall of Famer who pitched for the Washington Senators from 1907 to 1927; former Senators stars Mickey Vernon and Chuck Hinton; Audrey Fields, widow of former Homestead Grays pitcher Wilmer Fields; and new Nationals manager Manny Acta.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty also has been invited to participate.

Midgame events will include an appearance by the Racing Presidents in the middle of the fourth inning and the singing of “God Bless America” by opera and gospel singer Morris Robinson during the seventh-inning stretch. The Presidents characters will sign autographs during the fifth inning outside the Diamond Club at the 300 level.

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