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For Openers

April 02, 2001|JIM BARRERO

* Gates open: Parking lots at 11 a.m; stadium turnstiles at 11:30 a.m.

* Player watch: Dodger players will be greeting fans who walk through the turnstiles between 11:45 a.m. and noon.

* Ceremonial first pitch: Maury Wills. The former Dodger who was the National League MVP in 1962 has returned to the organization as a minor league instructor. Wills, who was first spotted as a 17-year-old pitching prospect, finally gets his chance to pitch in a major league ballpark.

* National anthem: Barry Manilow.

* Military presence: The "Leap Frogs," a group of Navy Seals, will parachute into the stadium.

* Other ceremonies: In addition to Wills, the team will honor 10 players and managers whose uniform numbers are retired. The honorees are Pee Wee Reese (1), Tom Lasorda (2), Duke Snider (4), Jim Gilliam (19), Don Sutton (20), Walter Alston (24), Sandy Koufax (32), Roy Campanella (39), Jackie Robinson (42) and Don Drysdale (53). All are in the Hall of Fame except for Gilliam, who died in 1978.

* Something new: The 10 Dodgers with their numbers retired are featured on the stadium's new outfield wall.

* Opening day memories: Milwaukee Brewer Manager Davey Lopes was the Dodgers' opening-day starter at second base in all but one year from 1974-81. . . . Twenty years ago, Dodger rookie Fernando Valenzuela was called on to replace Jerry Reuss, who pulled a calf muscle jogging in the outfield before the game. Valenzuela pitched a five-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros. . . . The Dodgers have won six of their last seven home openers and are 24-19 since moving to Los Angeles.

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