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Multi-sport star Jackson fires first pitch

CHICAGO -- Opening Day pregame festivities at U.S. Cellular Field included Bo Jackson, fireworks and an American Flag being unfurled across the entire outfield.

The action began with announcements of the Royals starters, followed by the remainder of their team taking the field along the first-base line. The White Sox players and staff were then announced, beginning with head athletic trainer Herm Schneider. The loudest ovation was reserved for Paul Konerko, starting his 15th straight Opening Day for the South Siders.

Loud rounds of applause also were let loose for Harold Baines, pitching coach Don Cooper, Dewayne Wise, Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, manager Robin Ventura, head groundskeeper Roger Bossard and Opening Day starter Chris Sale.

A moment of silence was held for White Sox family members who had passed away in the past year, including Kevin Hickey and Bill "Moose" Skowron, as well as those individuals who had lost their lives fighting in the armed forces and the Major League Baseball-wide moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. The White Sox also recognized those senseless deaths through the violence in Chicago.

The Ponce family did a rousing version of the national anthem, with the American flag unfurled across the outfield by Navy personnel. The ceremony concluded with fireworks and Jackson throwing a strike to Ventura.

"I don't necessarily miss the game that much," said Jackson, who reunited with former teammate Ventura after not seeing him for 10-12 years. "I miss the camaraderie and if you ask any player that's been out of the game for a long time, it's about missing your buddies and your good friends that you used to hang out with."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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