RiverHawks Schedule Opening Day Festivities
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May 29, 2006 - The RiverHawks will open their new stadium with a celebration over a two-day period, linking Rockford’s rich baseball heritage with the modern amenities of the new era for baseball in the region, including the Chicago White Sox World Series Trophy and fireworks.

The celebration begins with the following communities declaring May 31--the date of the RiverHawks' home opener--as “Rockford RiverHawks Day”, reinforcing the regional nature of the RiverHawks and their new, state-of-the-art multipurpose entertainment facility: Pecatonica, Durand, Byron, Rockton, South Beloit, Roscoe, Beloit, Belvidere, Rochelle, Poplar Grove, Rockford, and Loves Park.

The fun continues with an old-fashioned pep rally Tuesday, May 30 at 11:30 a.m. in downtown Rockford near Stewart Square. A Dixieland band will warm up those in attendance during the lunch hour, and American Bottling will provide free beverages. The stage—supplied by Rockford Park District—will include several RiverHawks players; Rockford Mayor Lawrence Morrissey; three Rockford Peaches: Doris Johnson, Aldine Thomas, and Helen Wayatt; Mark Herrman portraying Rockford native, and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Albert Spalding; Rockford baseball historian Ken Griswold; a Rockford Cubbie representative; Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg; and Rocko the RiverHawk mascot.

At 12:30 p.m. the assembly will caravan in a trolley to the Discovery Center Museum on North Main Street. In front of dozens of school children, the staff will compare pitches thrown by a RiverHawks player and Spalding, who will pitch in the manner of the earliest players with a replica ball from that time period. Spalding organized the Rockford team that was one of the founding members of today’s National League of Professional Baseball. The Museum will also display a RiverHawks uniform in their sports in action exhibit.

The caravan will continue to the site of Beyer Stadium, where the Rockford Peaches played during World War II, at approximately 1:30. The Peaches will play catch with today’s RiverHawks and will discuss the history of the team.

The caravan will leave at about 2:15 to go to Marinelli Field, where a Rockford Cubbie re-enactor will play catch with a current player in the stadium used by the Rockford Reds, Cubbies, Royals, Expos, and RiverHawks. There will be a talk on the history of the teams that used to call Rockford home.

The caravan will then make its way to Midway Village & Museum Center where the ball that will be used as the first official ball in RiverHawks Stadium will be stored in a display case overnight.

The fun continues the next day, May 31, beginning around 4:30 pm. The Midway Marauders, Midway Village’s old-time “Town Ball” team, will play catch with today’s RiverHawks. The trolley caravan will then carry participants to RiverHawks Stadium. At the stadium, the caravan will be greeted by the 2005 Chicago White Sox World Series Trophy, which will be on display beginning at 5:00 p.m. Fans may have their pictures taken with the trophy.

On-field festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. The participants will include representatives from Rockford regional youth boys and girls baseball and softball teams, the Junior RiverHawks, a youth travel team. The mayors of the communities listed above will throw out ceremonial first pitches. The Rockford Peaches will be recognized on-field. Miss Rockford 2006 Christina DeVoe will welcome visitors to the park.

There will also be post-game fireworks sponsored by U.S. Cellular and Cumulus Media.

Fans are encouraged to get their tickets now for Opening Night, as they are selling fast and are in limited supply. Also, fans are reminded that only season ticket holders are assured of an opportunity to meet Danica Patrick at the ballpark on July 18.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 10-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 14th season in 2006. All games are broadcast live on WRHL-FM, 102.3 – the Hub. Advertising, season-ticket and suite information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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