The Los Angeles Dodgers will open the 2018 season Thursday by playing host to the San Francisco Giants at a sold-out Dodger Stadium, celebrating their 60 years in Los Angeles during pregame ceremonies with a special salute to the 30th anniversary of their 1988 World Series championship team.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Kirk Gibson. In his only plate appearance of the 1988 World Series, Gibson hit a 3-2 backdoor slider from future Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley for a pinch-hit two-out two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 for a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
The Dodgers have designated a seat in the area of the Right Field Pavilion where the home run landed as the Kirk Gibson Seat 88. Proceeds from the seat will be donated to the Kirk Gibson Foundation to raise money and awareness for research into Parkinson’s disease. Gibson was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 2015.
Tickets for the seat are $300, which includes a companion seat. They are sold out for the season.
The seat is painted blue and adorned with Gibson’s painted signature, as well as a historical marker. The seat is the at Dodger Stadium to be marked in tribute to a historic event.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will contribute its share of the proceeds from Thursday’s 50-50 Raffle to the Kirk Gibson Foundation.
Pregame ceremonies for the 4:08 p.m. game will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. The national anthem will be sung by Pia Toscano, who finished ninth on the 2011 season of “American Idol.” More than 100 active local members of the armed forces will participate in the flag ceremony.
There will be a flyover by T-38C Talons from the 25th Flying Training Squadron at the Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Joseph Getherall, a Vietnam War veteran, will be honored as the Military Hero of the Game on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Clayton Kershaw is set to make his eighth consecutive opening day start for the Dodgers, taking sole possession of the team record he shares with Hall of Famer Don Sutton, who had seven consecutive opening day starts from 1972-78.
Kershaw will also set the team record for opening day starts by a pitcher. The late Hall of Famer Don Drysdale also made seven opening day starts, 1958-61, 1963, 1965 and 1969.
Kershaw is 5-0 in his seven opening day starts with a 0.99 ERA, the second lowest all-time ERA on opening day with a minimum of five starts behind the late Rick Mahler’s 0.92 with the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s.
Ty Blach, will start on the mound for the Giants. Like Kershaw, he is a left-hander.
Auto and stadium gates will open at 1 p.m. with the Dodgers encouraging fans to arrive early on what is traditionally the most congested regular-season game Dodger Stadium because many fans drive to the stadium alone from work.
The Dodgers will begin batting practice at 1:10 p.m. Entertainment leading up to the pregame ceremonies include Dodger features on DodgerVision and live music throughout the stadium.
New food items at Dodger Stadium include:
— Orange chicken bowl, fried chicken bites tossed in an Mandarin orange glaze atop steamed rice. It is available at Basebowls on the Field Level at aisle 45;
— Churro cake, topped with Horchata ice cream, Abuelita’ caramel and Abuelita’ shavings. It is available at Trolley Dodger Treats on the Field Level at aisle 46.
— Chicken N’ Waffle Sammy, a Belgian waffle, spicy chicken with candied bacon, maple syrup and powdered sugar. It is available at Chick N’ Tots on the Field level at aisle 8 and Chick N’ Waffles on the Reserve Level, aisle 12;
— Spicy chicken sandwich, chicken tossed in Buffalo sauce, jalapeno slaw, umami aioli, pickles on Texas toast. It is available at Chick N’ Waffles;
— Smoked whiskey wings, 15 smoked wings smothered with Jim Beam Whiskey. The wings are served with french fries, veggie sticks & two small drinks. They are available at the Jim Beam Bar on the Right Field Entrance Plaza;
— Cheeto-lote, roasted sweet corn rubbed with chipotle lime mayo, dusted with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, cotija cheese & tajin seasoning. It is available at Elysian Park Grill on the Field Level, aisles 22 and 23, and the on Top Deck, aisle 4;
— Pretzel chicken croissant, chicken, sundried tomato, herb aioli, Swiss cheese, leaf lettuce on a pretzel croissant. It is available at Marketplace on the Field Level at aisle 5, the Loge Level at aisle 137 and Reserve Level at aisle 5;
— High-protein salad, inka blend quinoa zucchini tossed in house-made pesto, fresh corn, green onion, chickpeas, toasted pine nuts and lemon zest. It is available at Marketplace;
— Tortas, a sandwich on a white roll that includes refried beans, jalapenos, cilantro, crema and pickled onions. The options are carne asada, pulled chicken and vegetarian. They are available at the LA On Deck Circle on the Field Level at Aisle 48, the Loge Level at Aisle 133 and the Reserve Level at Aisle 4;
— King’s Hawaiian lobster roll, New England-style lobster mix on a King’s Hawaiian roll served with kettle chips. It is available at King’s Hawaiian Grill at the Left Field Entrance Plaza; and;
— Triple play churro sundae, a cinnamon sugar churro with soft-serve ice cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and blue sprinkles in a souvenir helmet. It is available at Trolley Dodger Treats.
Special food items for the four-game series against San Francisco include clam chowder bread bowls.