BALTIMORE -- The Orioles opened their home slate against the Twins on Friday with a long pregame ceremony that honored their three Gold Glove winners from last year and others, such as the late Earl Weaver.
The Hall of Fame manager, who died during the winter, was honored with no first pitch being thrown before the game. Instead, the ball was left on the mound while the crowd observed a moment of silence. There also was a video tribute to Weaver shown on the video board in center field, one that drew a large ovation from the crowd.
As usual, the Orioles players and coaches were introduced to the crowd. Manager Buck Showalter received a loud ovation when he ran out of the dugout and several players got plenty of cheers, most notably first baseman Chris Davis.
Davis, like the others in the starting lineup, ran from the gate in center and down the orange carpet to the infield behind second base. He had three homers and 11 RBIs as the Orioles took two of three from the Rays in St. Petersburg during the season-opening series.
That orange carpet was lined by 80 children from KidsPeace, which is a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, preadolescents and teens. They stood there holding Orioles flags on both sides as the players ran through.
J.J. Hardy (shortstop), Adam Jones (center field) and Matt Wieters (catcher) were then presented with American League Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence in 2012. This was the first one for Hardy and the second for Jones and Wieters.
Nationally-known operatic tenor Rolando Sanz sang the national anthem and God Bless America. The colors were presented by the United States Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington and the combined Honor Guard Team from the Baltimore City Police and Baltimore City Fire Departments.
Showalter had special bond with Weaver
BALTIMORE -- Manager Buck Showalter has become like a lot of other Baltimore fans -- he really loved Earl Weaver.
Weaver, who died this winter, apparently talked with Showalter often, something that meant a lot to the present-day Orioles manager.
"I think the biggest thing is he had time for me," Showalter said before Friday's home opener against the Twins. "He didn't have to. You could tell how much the Orioles meant to him."
Showalter and some of his players came out to watch with fans when the Orioles revealed the statue of Weaver last summer. Showalter talked that day about how excited he was to talk with Weaver.
To honor Weaver, the Orioles will wear a "4" patch on their uniforms this season. They've also got a white "4" in an orange circle in front of the team's first-base dugout -- the number Weaver wore when a coach with the Orioles (1968) and manager of the team (1968-82, 1985-86).
The team also honored Weaver during its pregame ceremony Friday with a video tribute as well as not having a first pitch, just leaving the ball on the mound in his memory.
Showalter said he was thinking about Weaver throughout the spring and will often have the Hall of Fame manager on his mind. At the club's Spring Training complex at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., there was a "4" in front of the Orioles' dugout.
"I'd come off the mound after making a pitching change in the spring, have my head down thinking and I'd look up, and I'd almost be getting ready to step on the number, and I'd always walk around it," Showalter said. "There's a certain reverence we all had for that. He's watching today."
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.