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Washington Nationals Opening Weekend To Include Local Hall Of Fame Induction, Patriotic Tributes

Though the recent weather in Washington would say otherwise, Major League Baseball gets back into the swing (no pun intended) this week. The Washington Nationals will open Nationals Park for the season against the Atlanta Braves March 31 and plan to throw some extravagant pregame ceremonies.

On March 31, the Nationals will induct the newest class of the Washington, D.C. Sports Hall Of Fame, which has moved from RFK Stadium to Nationals Park. The inductees include:

  • James Brown, Emmy-Award winning host of CBS' "The NFL Today" and Showtime's "Inside the NFL"
  • Dominique Dawes, Olympic gold medal winning gymnast
  • Brian Mitchell, former Washington Redskins running back
  • Willie Stewart, former Anacostia High School head football coach
  • Michael Wilbon, co-host of ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" and former columnist at The Washington Post
  • Morgan Wootten, former DeMatha High School head basketball coach

The first pitch, which is usually reserved for the president of the United States, will be thrown by five different people. Five officers representing each branch of the U.S. military will throw to Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.

There will definitely be a military feel throughout the weekend as the Nationals will hold a moment of silence for those affected by the recent natural disasters in Japan. On April 3, the Nationals will celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival by commemorating the relationship between the United States and Japan.

Of course, there will be plenty of giveaways. The first 20,000 fans to arrive March 31 will receive an Opening Day hat. The first 20,000 April 2 will receive car magnets and magnet schedules. And last, but certainly not least, legendary broadcaster Larry King will throw out the first pitch April 2, which is worth the price of admission in itself.