Tigers to honor resilient fans at opener

Tigers to honor resilient fans at opener

The Tigers' home opener is essentially a holiday in Detroit, a sign of spring's arrival and a sense of renewal. On Friday, they'll use Opening Day at Comerica Park turn the spotlight back on the Motor City and resiliency of Michiganders through tough times.

While fans get a look at the center-field fountain showing the Tigers' support for the Big Three auto companies, each of the automakers will be represented on the field, as Michigan native and noted Tigers fan Kid Rock delivers baseballs for the ceremonial first pitches. Instead of celebrities or politicians, auto workers from each company will be taking the mound.

Loretta Abiodun will represent General Motors, where she has worked for the past 35 years. She's currently based at Detroit Hamtramck Assembly in the quality/communications department.

Representing Chrysler will be David Edgar, a sheet metal worker at Warren Stamping. He has been with the company for 34 years.

Ford will be represented by Pete Reyes, a 22-year veteran at the company who's currently the chief engineer of the all new Taurus at the company's product development center in Dearborn.

The ceremonies for the 1:05 p.m. ET game will begin at 12:35 with an on-field tribute to Hall of Famer George Kell, who passed away last month. The traditional Opening Day happenings will follow, from player introductions to the national anthem, performed by members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. A military flyover will accompany the anthem, featuring four F-15C aircraft from the 95th Fighter Squadron based out of Tyndall Air Force Base.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.