As fans counted down the hours to the Baltimore Orioles' home opener, many had the same question on their minds -- "Who will throw out the first pitch?"
You could hear them debating the topic as they made their way to their seats. Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco and Perry Hall High School shooting survivor Daniel Borowy -- all names heard -- all consistent with feedback on the ABC2 News Facebook page earlier in the day.
In the end it was a topic debated and celebrated when the announcement was finally made.
There was no ceremonial first pitch thrown at the home opener. The placing of the ball that would have been thrown on the mound, accompanied by a moment of silence -- it was to honor Earl Weaver.
The Duke of Earl took the Orioles to the World Series four times over 17 seasons. He brought home a title in 1970. He died on January 19, 2013 at the age of 82. It was the day before the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship and the same day of Orioles Fan Fest.
There seemed to be little disagreement as the announcement was made about the first pitch. Fans stood in their seats, screamed and clapped as Weaver's name and photo appeared on the video board in center field.
In addition to holding the ceremonial first pitch, the Orioles will wear a black patch for the duration of the 2013 season in honor of Weaver.
There is also a special tribute scheduled for April 20 in honor of The Duke of Earl. The event will begin at 2 p.m. April 20. Gates A and H will open at 1 p.m. and complimentary parking will be available in Lot B/C. There is no admission for the event, but the park will promptly close following the event in preparation for the 5 p.m. game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Weaver is one of six Orioles legends to receive a bronze sculpture at the ballpark.
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