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A quick glance at Friday's home-opener in St. Petersburg:

  • 3:30 — Tropicana Field parking lots open for tailgating.
  • 4:10 — Gates open; Rays players will greet fans at rotunda and Gate 4.
  • 4:40-5:40 — Rays batting practice.
  • 5:30 — Major-league alumni, including Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, Tom Tresh, Jeff Torborg, Ron LeFlore, Tom Niedenfuer and Floyd Youmans signing free autographs on Centerfield Street; live music from Freight Train Annie.
  • 5:40-6:30 — Jays batting practice.
  • 6:46 — Introductions of both teams by new public-address announcer Dave Pygman.
  • 6:55 — Moment of silence for former commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
  • 6:56 — National anthem by Daniel Rodriguez, former New York City cop known as the Singing Policeman. Colors presented by U.S. Special Operations Command Joint Service Honor Guard from MacDill Air Force Base.
  • 7 — Ceremonial first pitch by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who grew up in St. Petersburg. Caught by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.
  • 7:10 — First pitch by James Shields.

Parking: Free in some stadium lots; paid parking available in city lots. Free Looper trolley will operate from downtown lots to stadium. Interstate 375 remains closed.

Giveaways: All fans get a scratch-off card that guarantees a prize (from resort stays to iced coffees), Checkers thermal mug, Rays schedule magnet.

Also: Live broadcasts by 11 radio stations. … Debut of new Tropicana Field video- and scoreboards, FieldTurf, tbt* Party Deck (replacing the Beach). … Completion of landscaping project outside Tropicana Field. … Opening of expanded Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, and renovated team store.

-- Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:31am]


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