Opening Day at Tropicana Frield

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Opening Day brought out a festive atmosphere to Tropicana Field, where the Rays opened their 2012 season Friday afternoon against the Yankees.

The pregame activities began with Jim Dundee, son of the late boxing legend Angelo Dundee, delivering the ceremonial first pitch Evan Longoria. The ball used was the one struck by Evan Longoria for his walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Game 162, on Sept. 28, 2011, sending the Rays to the postseason.

Angelo, an avid Rays fan and Clearwater, Fla., resident, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 90.

After the Yankees’ introduction along the third-base line, the Rays were introduced to raucous applause from the sellout crowd. Maddon, Carlos Pena, James Shields, Longoria, and Don Zimmer received particularly loud ovations.

Popular Tampa Bay area saxophonist B.K. Jackson performed the National Athem, which led up to a showing of a film that captured the drama from Game 161, much to the delight of the crowd.

The pre-game ceremony concluded when the Rays hoisted an American League 2011 Wild Card banner, which joined a 2010 AL East Champions banner, and 2008 banners for winning the AL East and with the American League pennant. All of the banners reside above the left-field stands.

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