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Harold Baines to throw first pitch as part of White Sox’ home-opener festivities

Harold Baines will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Thursday. | Scott Stewart/Sun-Times

The White Sox have some special festivities in store to celebrate the return of baseball to Chicago for their home opener Thursday afternoon. The team says fans should plan to arrive early for a pregame ceremony at Guaranteed Rate Field before the team faces the Mariners at 1:10 p.m. CT.

The first game of the season on the South Side sounds like it won’t be your usual affair. Harold Baines, fresh off his induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame, will throw the ceremonial first pitch. Additionally, “Hamilton” star Miguel Cervantes will sing the national anthem, all players and coaches will be introduced on Ford Mustangs and there will be a flyover by jets from the United States Navy.

The Sox recommend that fans arrive at the stadium, which will open at 11 a.m., by 12:15 p.m. for the opening ceremony. Parking lots will open at 10 a.m. for those looking to tailgate beforehand.

There will also be more to look forward to during the Sox’ upcoming home stand. The first 20,000 fans to attend the game Thursday will receive a free t-shirt, and there will be a guaranteed Sox Split jackpot starting at $50,000.

Other upcoming giveaways include a White Sox hoodie for the first 15,000 fans on Saturday and a magnetic Sox schedule for the first 10,000 fans at each of the April 8-10 games against the Rays.