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Ozzie, Connick Jr. part of pregame festivities

Cardinals legend throws out first pitch; anthem veteran performs prior to Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- The first time Harry Connick Jr. sang the national anthem, he was 5 years old and keeping things light at campaign headquarters in New Orleans, where his dad was running for district attorney.

Needless to say, all these years -- and Grammy and Emmy Awards -- later, belting out the anthem draws considerably more attention. Connick, who has recently added "American Idol" judge to his long list of career stops, created quite a stir when he strode onto the field at Busch Stadium to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night.

Connick has done this plenty. Google his name along with "national anthem," and a handful of videos from past performances come up, dating as far back as the 1992 Super Bowl. While not a huge baseball fan, Connick loves the atmosphere and the excitement that comes along with jewel sporting events.

"I like being around the energy, especially in these high-level games like the World Series and Super Bowl," the singer said. "It's nice."

Without a Major League team in New Orleans, Connick's exposure to baseball was limited. He lives somewhat vicariously through his dad, who holds a strong allegiance to the Red Sox, but beyond that, he's a casual observer.

Still, Connick loves being at the ballpark.

"I like singing at different venues," he said. "It's always a lot of fun."

The pregame ceremony also included the ceremonial first pitch, thrown by a legend in these parts -- Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, whose game-winning homer in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series is still one of the Cardinals' most memorable postseason moments.

Smith has made several appearances in the pregame ceremonies throughout October, having joined many former teammates and fellow Hall of Famers on the field as part of the pageantry that surrounds postseason play.

Scheduled to perform "God Bless America" in the middle of the seventh inning was Tech. Sgt. Angie Johnson of with the Missouri Air National Guard.

Additionally, Bank of America, the official bank of Major League Baseball, provided American flags for fans at each Busch Stadium entrance, asking those in attendance to wave the flag during "God Bless America" as an expression of thanks to our troops.

Bank of America will donate $1 on behalf of each participating fan to Welcome Back Veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project in an effort to reach a total donation of $1 million, which will go toward helping service members and veterans succeed here at home.

Bank of America's "Express Your Thanks" initiative, which relaunched on Memorial Day 2013, aims to help support members of the military and veterans across the country by donating $1 for each expression of thanks.

Fans can visit to learn about this program and how they can express their thanks.

The first-ball delivery was made by 16-year-old Eric Davis, who was escorted to the mound by Jim Edmonds, a member of the 2006 World Series champion Cards. Davis is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis -- Herbert Hoover Club, and he is a junior at Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School in St. Louis.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.
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