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 Tigers will raise flag for Sparky before 2011 opener

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PostSubject: Tigers will raise flag for Sparky before 2011 opener   Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:07 am

Tigers will raise flag for Sparky before opener
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 04/06/11 7:11 PM ET

The Tigers will raise a flag honoring Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson as part of their Opening Day festivities on Friday, when they return to Comerica Park to host the Royals in a 3:05 p.m. ET game.

The Tigers announced their plans for honoring Anderson, who died on Nov. 4, 2010, during TigerFest in January. The flag-raising ceremony is the first part of the remembrance, and it's the centerpiece of Detroit's annual celebration of the Tigers' home opener -- a huge deal in the city and the state, and a sign that Michigan's long winter has finally passed.

Anderson was one of many members of the Tigers family who were lost over the offseason. The Tigers will also hold a moment of silence to remember former general manager Bill Lajoie, former playing greats Steve Boros and Woodie Fryman, and Negro Leagues great Cecil Kaiser, as well as those who lost their lives in the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

NBC Sing-Off winners Committed will perform the national anthem prior to the game while A-10 aircraft from 107th Fighter Squadron, 127th, Michigan Air National Guard will take part in a military flyover. Master Sergeant Michael Lionberger of the U.S. Air Force will deliver the game ball. Creed lead vocalist Scott Stapp will perform God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.

The Tigers have not said who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, only that "very special guests" will join a young person from the CATCH charity. Anderson started the organization in 1987 to improve the quality of life for sick, injured and at-risk young patients at Henry Fod Hospital and Children's Hospital of Michigan.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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