There will be a flyover by the U.S. Navy and a presentation of the Color Guard by the U.S. Army, but the emotional highlight of Opening Day at Angel Stadium will bring the family of the late Preston Gomez to the mound to deliver honorary first pitches.
In honor of Gomez, who passed away on Jan. 13 after spending his final 28 years in the Angels organization, manager Mike Scioscia, the coaching staff and the players will wear a black "PRESTON" patch on their sleeves this season for all home and road games.
Gomez, 85, spent more than six decades in the game in multiple roles, from player to coach to manager to executive. He died following complications from injuries sustained in March 2008 when he was struck by a truck while walking to his car at a service station. He was on his way home to Southern California from the Angels' Spring Training site.
"I love Preston," reliever Jose Arredondo said, expressing the sentiment of Angels young and old. "He was a great man. He did so much for all of us."
A packed house will assemble for the opener against perennial division rival Oakland, with the first pitch set for 6:08 p.m PT.
The pregame festivities will begin at 5:47 p.m. with the introduction of the U.S. Army Color Guard. One minute later, the national anthem will be sung along with the unfurling of a patriotic outfield flag.
The flyover by the U.S. Navy's FA/18 aircraft is set for 5:50 p.m. a "Calling All Angels" video will be shown at 5:55 p.m., followed two minutes later by the "Season Opening Spectacular Video."
At 6 p.m., Gomez's family will head to the mound to make the ceremonial pitches. At 6:04, a team introduction animation will be shown. Two minutes later, the Angels take the field, and two minutes after that, the first official pitch of 2009 formally brings down the curtain.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.