There were some other unique aspects to the festivities. When the Red Sox players were announced during pregame introductions, each one emerged though the crowd, walking through the grandstand aisles between sections 15 and 25. This gave fans a chance to exchange high fives or handshakes with the likes of Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and John Smoltz as they walked by. The presentation of colors was made by representatives of all five branches of the United States armed forces. The national anthem was performed by maestro Keith Lockhart and members of the Boston Pops along with the Tanglewood Festival chorus.
At the conclusion, there was a flyover performed by four F-15 tactical fighter jets from the 104th fighter jets from the 104th fighter wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.
Johnny Pesky, the Red Sox icon who had his No. 6 retired last September, then grabbed a microphone and roared "Play Ball" to the delight of the packed house.
The action carried right over into the early portion of the game, with Red Sox ace Josh Beckett registering two strikeouts in the top of the first and Dustin Pedroia, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player, drilling a solo homer into the Monster Seats in the bottom of the inning. While not lucky enough to be there, all this was caught on TV, and in the end, they beat the Rays 5-3. A good start, and a little retribution after a disappointing end to last season's 7th game loss in the playoffs to those Devils...........