Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Opening Day Tanner Tribute, Bradenton Roster Announced

-- For the faithful with tickets to Opening Day on Thursday, you'll get to see lots of love for Chuck Tanner before the first pitch.

The Pirates will show a pre-game video honoring the ol' skipper, and a season-long tribute exhibit for Tanner at PNC will be unveiled. Tanner's family members and some of his old players - John Candelaria, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Parker and Kent Tekulve - will be on the field.

The first pitch will be thrown out by son Bruce Tanner to Manny Sanguillen, who was a member of the 1979 World Series Champions and was actually traded to Oakland to get Tanner in 1976.

A color guard of local troops will show the red, white and blue, Master Sergeant Ron Heitzenrater of the United States Air Force will be honored after five overseas tours and 36 years in uniform, and "God Bless America" will be sung by Air Force Captain Sarah Micklo.

The festivities will also include "The Star Spangled Banner" being done by OAR member and Youngstown native Jerry DePizzo, the winner of the "Pride of the Pirates" award will be presented, and everyone attending gets a magnetic Bucco schedule.

The gates open at 11:30 Thursday. The 1:35 PM game against the Rockies will be shown on Root Sports if you couldn't score a ticket or a hooky day from work. And if you're wondering, it's supposed to be 62 and cloudy with a chance of showers.

-- The High-A roster at Bradenton was formalized. The biggest name is Joe Biemel, who will work his way back into game shape in Florida. Other prospects are Robby Grossman, Jarek Cunningham, Calvin Anderson and Elevys Gonzalez among the position players and Nate Baker, Hunter Strickland, Quinton Miller, Eliecer Navarro and Jhonathon Ramos will toil from the hill.

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