WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- When fans stand for the national anthem at the Indians' April 6 home opener against the Mariners, the singer will be standing more than 6,000 miles away.
The Tribe announced on Thursday that it will use the pomp and pageantry of its annual quasi-holiday to honor the U.S. troops. And one of those troops, Pfc. Jacquelyn Elliott, will be singing the anthem live via satellite from Iraq. Elliott is serving in the Army's 192nd Quartermaster Company (based in Milan, OH) in Iraq.
Other events augmenting the 4:05 p.m. ET game include the Budweiser Clydesdales -- an eight-horse team pulling a sleigh -- leading wounded Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Turner onto the field for the ceremonial first pitch.
As Turner throws out the first pitch, home plate will be surrounded by nearly two dozen other Ohio heroes. They include: Michael Goldberg of Pepper Pike, who helped rescue passengers from a burning vehicle on the interstate; Bill and Kendal Lipke of Cleveland, who helped save an 11-year-old boy from drowning while the pair vacationed in Michigan; Bryan Molnar of Lakewood, a police officer who stopped a gas station robbery; and Victor Lewis of Cleveland, a hospital corpsman who ran through enemy fire in Iraq to assist two wounded Marines.
Gates open at 2 p.m., and fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 3 p.m.
A visit to Jacobs Field for Opening Day will not be complete without a stroll through the newly completed Heritage Park, home of the Tribe's Hall of Fame.
Those looking to get their day started early can gather at Gateway Plaza, outside the ballpark, where the Indians' flagship station, WTAM 1100, will be broadcasting live. The band Shout will also perform from noon to 3:20 p.m.
The Indians' home opener is sold out, though tickets are available for the remainder of the opening weekend series against the Mariners.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.