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Dodgers to celebrate the 30th anniversary of 1981 Opening Day on Thursday03/29/2011 5:26 PM ET
The Dodgers will open up the 2011 season on Thursday, March 31 as they take on the San Francisco Giants for a four-game series. Pre-game festivities on Opening Day, including the ceremonial first pitch, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Opening Day in 1981. Grammy Award-winning singer Plácido Domingo will perform the National Anthem and Broadway actor and singer Davis Gaines will perform God Bless America.
The Dodgers' 2011 Opening Day is presented by Automobile Club of Southern California. More information about Opening Day festivities, as well as the rest of the homestand, is below.
Thursday, March 31 vs. San Francisco Giants - Opening Day - 5:00 p.m.
Opening Day will be televised nationally on ESPN as the network's first Thursday Night Baseball game of the season. PRIME TICKET will deliver a special one-hour pre-game show from Dodger Stadium beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Individual game tickets to Opening Day are sold out, but fans can still get tickets to Thursday's game by purchasing a mini plan or season seats. More information can be found at www.dodgers.com/tickets.
Auto and stadium gates will both open early on Opening Day and fans are encouraged to carpool and arrive early, as auto gates will open at 1:00 p.m. and stadium gates will open at 1:30 p.m. Fans can also take the free Dodgertown Express Bus Service from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, as they can for every game this season. More information about the bus service and parking are available at www.dodgers.com/parking.
The first 50,000 fans at Thursday's game will receive Magnet Schedules presented by Automobile Club of Southern California.
Domingo who performed as one of the Three Tenors at Dodger Stadium in 1994 and is a 12-time Grammy Award-winner, will perform the National Anthem. His humanitarian work has earned honors ranging from the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Honorary Knight of the British Empire and many more. He currently serves as the General Director of the Los Angeles Opera and the Washington National Opera and lives by the motto "If I rest, I rust."
Before the National Anthem, the Dodgers will observe a moment of silence for those whose lives were lost as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have joined together to contribute $500,000 toward earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan to UNICEF. Dodger pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has made a personal donation to the cause and the Dodgers will also collect donations for UNICEF at locations throughout the stadium.
Gaines will sing God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. He is best known for his role as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and remains Los Angeles' longest-running phantom.
Continuing with the 1981 theme of Opening Day, former Dodger Bill Russell will sign autographs for fans in Autograph Alley. Russell won a World Series with the Dodgers in 1981, as well as in 1988, and was a member of the Dodgers' record-setting infield. Autograph Alley will feature stars of '81 throughout the Dodgers' opening homestand.
Approximately 136 members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Coast Guard, LAPD and LAFD will unfurl a giant flag on the day during pre-game ceremonies. A Joint Services Color Guard will present the colors and pre-game ceremonies will conclude with a flyover by a B-2 from Whiteman Air Force Base.
The Dodgers will also honor their first Veteran of the Game on Thursday, as they will at every home game this season. Second Lieutenant in the US Army Steven Hole will be the first honoree, as he won the home run hitting contest at the Military Batting practice the Dodgers hosted on Veteran's Day in November. Hole played football at West Point and is a third-year medical student at USC.
For the first time ever, Dodgers Magazine is offering a cover unique to Opening Day, featuring starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum. Fans can only purchase this version of the magazine at Dodger Stadium merchandise stands on Opening Day. The cover story features Kershaw, who with his wife Ellen volunteered to help build a school in Zambia during the offseason, and other stories including Roger Kahn's first-person reflection on Duke Snider and a photo essay on the late Hall of Famer. Dodger first base coach Davey Lopes also talks about Dodger Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Fans can subscribe to Dodgers Magazine at www.dodgers.com/magazine or by calling 877-258-3062.
The 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Yearbook also makes its debut on Opening Day and features a cover depicting the art from several of this year's Dodger billboards and highlighted by the tagline "It's time for Dodger Baseball." Inside are features on new Dodger Manager Don Mattingly, a look back at the Dodgers' 1981 World Series title and biographies of current players. The yearbook is available at all merchandise stands and can be ordered online at www.dodgers.com/magazine.
The first edition of Dodgers Playbill for the 2011 season features a cover highlighting the rivalry between the Dodgers and the Giants. Inside are a preview for the series, a look back at some of the great games in Dodgers-Giants history and ticket deals that fans can take advantage of this season.
Friday, April 1 vs. San Francisco Giants - 7:10 p.m.
Fans can watch Friday Night Fireworks, presented by Pizza Hut, from the field after the game. Fans will be able to take in fireworks at Dodger Stadium at every Friday home game this summer.
The first 50,000 fans at Friday's game will receive Magnet Schedules, also presented by Pizza Hut.
Former Dodger outfielder and 1981 World Series winner Kenny Landreaux will sign autographs for fans in Autograph Alley before the game.
American Idol winner singer Jordin Sparks will perform the National Anthem.
The April edition of Dodgers Magazine will be available on Friday at all merchandise stands. It features Kershaw on the cover and the inside content is the same that appears in the Opening Day edition.
Saturday, April 2 vs. San Francisco Giants - 1:10 p.m.
Saturday's game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
Dawn Richard from the group Diddy-Dirty Money with Sean "Diddy" Combs will sing the National Anthem and God Bless America.
1981 World Series winner Steve Yeager will be in Autograph Alley before the game.
The MLB2K11 RV Tour is kicking off the regular season at Dodger Stadium on Saturday April 2 at 11:00 a.m. in parking lot F. Fans will be able to test out 2K Sports' newest game as well as well as try hitting and pitching cages.
Sunday, April 3 vs. San Francisco Giants - 5:00 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The first 50,000 fans at Sunday's game will receive Dodgers Sleeved Blankets presented by State Farm. This marks the first time the Dodgers will give away a sleeved fleece item.
Sunday is the first Viva Los Dodgers day of the season, presented by State Farm, Time Warner Cable and Chevrolet. Viva Los Dodgers is a season-long celebration that occurs each Sunday of every Dodger homestand celebrating Hispanic culture in Los Angeles and the legacy of Latin American Dodger players past and present. Starting two hours prior to each Sunday's game, fans can enjoy live music and a family-friendly celebration. The initiative culminates with La Gran Fiesta: Viva Los Dodgers on Saturday, September 17.
ESPN Baseball Tonight will broadcast live throughout the morning in parking lot G and fans are encourages to stop by and participate in the broadcast. The MLB 2K 11 experience will be at Dodger Stadium for a second day as part of Viva Los Dodgers.
Singer Tori Kelly will perform the National Anthem and 1981 World Series winner Bobby Castillo will be in Autograph Alley.
Sunday is the first of six Little League days the Dodgers will host this season. Little League teams throughout Los Angeles can raise money for uniforms and equipment and participate in a pre-game parade on the field. For more information, visit www.dodgers.com/groups.
As part of Little League day, more than 3,000 players and supporters of the District 18 Little League will be at this Sunday's game. Last season, El Monte American Little League won the Junior League Baseball Western Regional Championship and became the first baseball team in the history of District 18 to advance to a Little League World Series. The El Monte American Little League represented the Western United States in the 10-team International World Series in Taylor, Michigan, eventually placing third in the World.
The Jr. Dodgers Broadcast returns this season and Jr. Dodger Broadcasters will call the game from the Vin Scully Press Box. Fans can listen to the Jr. Dodgers Broadcast at www.dodgers.com/jrdodgers.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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