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04/05/2011 11:21 AM ET
Pirates to honor late legendary manager Chuck Tanner at 2011 Home Opener on April 7
Pirates Charities to Also Collect Donations For Japan Disaster Relief
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The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the schedule of events for the regular season home opener on Thursday, April 7, presented by PNC Bank. The Pirates will host the Colorado Rockies at 1:35 p.m., with gates opening to the public at 11:30 a.m. All fans in attendance will receive a 2011 Pirates magnetic schedule, courtesy of PNC Bank.

Pregame festivities will celebrate the first home game of the Pirates 2011 season and will include a tribute to the late Chuck Tanner, who managed the Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979. The complete chronological schedule of events is as follows:

Pride of the Pirates Award

  • Pirates President Frank Coonelly and General Manager Neal Huntington will announce the recipient of the annual "Pride of the Pirates" award, which will be announced later this week. The award was created in 1990 to recognize members of the Pirates family who have demonstrated the qualities of sportsmanship, dedication and outstanding character during a lifetime of service to the organization.

Chuck Tanner Tribute

  • Legendary Pirates manager Chuck Tanner, who passed away this past offseason, will be honored for his outstanding work as a longtime member of the Pirates family. Members of his family and several former Pirates players who played under Tanner will be on-field for this special tribute. Players attending include John Candelaria, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Dave Parker and Kent Tekulve.
  • A tribute to Chuck Tanner will be unveiled and displayed at PNC Park all season long.
  • A video tribute will be played on the videoboard containing interviews with Chuck as well as testimonials from Pirates Alumni.

Military Tribute

  • A color guard consisting of local representatives from all five military branches will take the field.
  • Soon-to-be retired Master Sergeant Ron Heitzenrater of the United States Air Force will be honored after recently returning from Afghanistan, which was his fifth tour of duty over the span of a 36-year military career.
  • A moment of silence will also take place to honor members of the Pirates family who passed away, as well as those who were impacted by the recent natural disasters in Japan.

Pregame Festivities

  • God Bless America will be performed by Captain Sarah Micklo of the United States Air Force and Pennsylvania 171 Air Refueling Wing, and the Star Spangled Banner will be performed by Youngstown, Ohio native and saxophonist for rock band O.A.R., Jerry DePizzo.
  • The game time first pitch will be thrown out by Bruce Tanner, son of Chuck Tanner, and will be caught by Manny Sanguillen, who was a member of the 1979 Tanner-led World Series Champion Pirates.

Japan Disaster Relief

  • Pirates Charities will collect donations at the gates to benefit the victims of the natural disasters in Japan. All proceeds will be donated to UNICEF.
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