The Cleveland Guardians are set to officially ring in the 2023 season with the home opener on Friday with a 4:10 p.m. first pitch against the Seattle Mariners. After traversing the West Coast for six games and taking care of business in series against the Mariners and Oakland Athletics, the Guardians will return to Progressive Field for the first time since the American League Divisional Series last October, the electric five-game stand that saw Cleveland take the New York Yankees to the brink of elimination.
To help ring in the official start of the season on the shores of Lake Erie, the Guardians have announced a plethora of festivities for fans to enjoy before and during the first of 81 home games this year as Cleveland sets sail on a campaign to defend its AL Central crown. Cleveland said the party at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario will kick off at the Gateway Plaza from 1:15 to 3:30 p.m. with a Guardians Block Party. Open to the public, the party will feature DJ Kyro, a face painter, airbrush and glitter tattoos, “STAND FOR THE LAND” marquee lights and a Pepsi activation.
Most importantly, the Guardians will pay a classy tribute to the late John Adams, the longtime superfan drummer who passed away this offseason after a long illness and slew of health issues that kept him away from the ballpark for the last few seasons. Each jersey will don a “JA” patch that features his signature drum mallets. They will also be holding a moment of silence for Adams and Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, who passed away in December. Perry played for Cleveland from 1972-75, earning a spot in the All-Star Game twice during his time in Cleveland, leading the league in wins and winning the AL Cy Young award in 1972. He is a member of the Guardians’ Hall of Fame and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
To throw out the first pitch for the 30th Opening Day at Progressive Field, the Guardians have tapped Cleveland Heights natives Travis Kelce and his mother, Donna. Kelce, who played at Cleveland Heights and Cincinnati, won his second Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs in February. Donna’s other son, Jason, was the starting center for the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs.
Both the National Anthem and "God Bless America" will be performed by Norelle Simpson. She most recently performed as a backup singer to Rihanna at the Super Bowl. She grew up between Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and Mayfield Heights. Members of all six military branches will be in attendance, and a flyover will be performed by the 112th fighter squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard with a 4-ship of F-16s. Members of the East Palestine, Ohio Little League will have boys and girls form a "player tunnel” to welcome the players on the field as well.
Cleveland will also be unveiling the 2022 AL Central division pennant on the right field standing-room terraces.