There have been many adjustments made by the Baltimore Orioles with the news of the Miami Marlins have been postponed through Sunday. Instead the team will be set to host the New York Yankees in their Home Opener at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
RECOGNIZING THE FRONTLINE HEROES
The Orioles’ opening ceremonies will be centered around those who are working on the frontlines to take on the COVID-19 crisis, as well as activists who are fighting the battle against racial injustice.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Orioles will recognize “The F16HTers” as the next group of Birdland Community Hero Award winners. Inspired by Trey Mancini’s #F16HT against colorectal cancer, the Orioles are honoring individuals who are overcoming insurmountable odds every day. These heroes are fighting their own battles with terminal illness, social injustice, and other personal obstacles.
The Orioles will be making a $5,000 donation to Thread in conjunction with this recognition. Thread harnesses the power of relationships to create a new social fabric of diverse individuals deeply engaged with young people facing the most significant opportunity and achievement gaps. Additionally, the Orioles will be auctioning the bases and other game-used items from the home opener online at Orioles.com/Auctions, with all proceeds benefiting Thread.
THE “10th MAN”
For the 27th consecutive season, one fan will be chosen to represent all Orioles fans cheering from home as the team’s “10th man.” The fan will be introduced as a part of the Orioles starting lineup during the pregame ceremonies.
MOMENT OF SILENCE / IN REMEMBRANCE
The Orioles will pause to observe a reflective moment of silence in honor of those lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and the victims of racial injustice, as well as the members of the Orioles family who have passed away over the past year.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH
Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Wednesday night’s home opener will be Johns Hopkins nurse Mahala Thomas. Thomas works in one of the hospital’s COVID-19 units and has been with Johns Hopkins Hospital since 2016. The first pitch will be pre-recorded and played in the ballpark and on the broadcasts. Thomas will be joined by four additional representatives from other local major medical centers.
NATIONAL ANTHEM AND GOD BLESS AMERICA
Siblings and Baltimore School for the Arts students Ebban and Ephraim Dorsey will perform a jazz instrumental version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The performance will be recorded outside the Baltimore School for the Arts, and the video will be played in the ballpark and on the broadcasts.
Performing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch will be Rolando Sanz. With his performance, the Orioles will continue their tradition of featuring a performer in support of the opera during the team’s home opener. Sanz will perform on the Fort McHenry grounds, and the pre-recorded video will be played in the ballpark and on the broadcasts.
O’s AT HOME
The Orioles are launching “O’s at Home,” an initiative designed to bring the atmosphere and ballpark experience of a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to fans at home all season long. As fans watch or listen to Orioles games this season, they will see and hear familiar elements of the ballpark on MASN, 105.7 The Fan, Orioles.com, and the MLB Ballpark App. This will feature ceremonial first pitches, anthems, and in-game entertainment, as well as new content, including Birdland IQ Trivia, a Virtual Community Booth, and more. For select games, fans at home will be able to enjoy regular fan-favorites, such as the Hot Dog Race and the Crab Shuffle, while watching games on MASN.
Additionally, Birdland Members will continue to receive exclusive opportunities through the Birdland Rewards portal, and opportunities for children will be regularly added to the Digital Kids Corner.
In addition the team as a whole announced the induction of superfan Mossila ‘Mo’ Gaba into the team’s Hall of Fame as the second-ever recipient of The Wild Billy Hagy Award.
Mo, a resident of Glen Burnie, Md., began calling in to 105.7 The Fan’s sports programming in 2015 at the age of nine. Unbeknownst to his mother, he would call in on afternoons when he got home from school to share his unparalleled knowledge of Baltimore sports with local fans and radio listeners. Despite losing his eyesight due to a malignant tumor when he was just nine months old, and enduring four different battles with cancer throughout his life, Mo’s infectious laughter and enthusiasm quickly captured the hearts of local sports fans, making him a Baltimore celebrity and a household name.
As just the second-ever recipient of The Wild Bill Hagy Award, the Orioles honor Mo as one of the most passionate and devoted fans in franchise history. The award, which was established in 2007 following the passing of William G. ‘Wild Bill’ Hagy, expanded the Orioles Hall of Fame to include fans who have inspired others with their devotion to the team, and demonstrated an exceptional commitment in support of the Orioles. Appropriately, Hagy, who rooted for the club year in and year out, was named the first recipient of the award in 2008.
Mo’s celebrity status has grown tremendously since 2015, and he regularly makes appearances at Orioles games and events. Mo was invited as a special guest at Orioles FanFest in 2015, where he was able to meet some of his favorite Orioles, including infielder Chris Davis. He has since attended a collection of notable Orioles games, including in 2017, when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of Kids’ Opening Day, and in 2019, when his “Play Ball!” call on Kids’ Opening Day officially marked the start of a new season. After inspiring countless fans and Baltimoreans with his positivity, Press Box recognized Mo as the 2019 Sportsperson of the Year.
As his involvement with the Orioles grew, so did Mo’s relationships with the players, most notably Orioles infielder/outfielder Trey Mancini. The two met for the first time in 2017, beginning an extraordinary friendship. During a challenging season in 2018, Mancini spent time with Mo during the All-Star Break, which he credits as helping him break out of his slump in the second half of the season. When Mancini rebounded with a remarkable 2019 season and was the Most Valuable Oriole, Mo was in attendance for the ceremony to surprise his friend.
“There is no one more deserving of this incredible honor than Mo. Throughout his battles with cancer, Mo never lost his kind spirit, his sense of humor, or his love of the Orioles. His tremendous courage and unwavering positivity in the face of such challenging circumstances have made him an inspiration to me and so many others,” shared Mancini. “It is fitting that Mo will now have a place in the Orioles Hall of Fame alongside some of the most iconic figures in franchise history, and for him to be honored as the recipient of the Wild Billy Hagy Award is truly special. I could not be happier for my friend, Mo, and his mother, Sonsy.”
Mo, who is also beloved by the Baltimore Ravens, made history last year when he became the first person to announce an NFL Draft pick read from a Braille draft card. Mo announced the selection of Ben Powers from the University of Oklahoma with the Ravens’ fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In June of 2020, Mancini and Powers, along with Orioles catcher Austin Wynns pitching prospect Bruce Zimmermann, representatives from the Orioles and Ravens, and hundreds of friends, family, and supporters attended a special parade to celebrate Mo’s eighth grade graduation from Lindale Middle School. Some of those same friends also called in to speak with Mo as he hosted “The Big Mo Show” with Jeremy Conn on 105.7 The Fan in early July, fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams to host his own sports radio talk show. Dozens of Baltimore sports celebrities, both past and present, as well as scores of fans called in to spend a few minutes chatting with Mo.
Mo’s positive energy has been constant throughout every battle and continues to bring the entire city of Baltimore together in the face of ongoing crisis. His unwavering positivity and kindness are qualities every Baltimorean aspires to emulate. Mo Gaba has impacted more people in his 14 years than most people do in an entire lifetime, and the Orioles are honored to forever celebrate him as a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. A complete list of Orioles Hall of Fame members can be found at Orioles.com/hof.
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