Ex-Pirates greats Bonds, Groat, Leyland to participate in Opening Day festivities
PHILADELPHIA — Barry Bonds is returning to Pittsburgh.
The former Pirates great and MLB all-time leader in home runs will attend the Pirates' Opening Day game against the Chicago Cubs on Monday and present Andrew McCutchen with his National League MVP award.
“It's pretty cool,” McCutchen said. “I look forward to it. I haven't had any (interaction with Bonds).”
Bonds will join a number of former Pirates greats at PNC Park to participate in pregame festivities.
Bonds, who won the NL MVP seven times (1990 and '92 with Pirates), joins 1960 winner Dick Groat in presenting McCutchen with the award. Pirates 1978 NL MVP Dave Parker was scheduled to appear but cannot because of a scheduling conflict, the team said.
“We are pleased to welcome such a strong group of Pirates alumni to take part in our Opening Day ceremonies,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly wrote in an email. “The ceremony is a great way to recognize our award winners from last season as well as our club's rich history.
“As a two-time MVP award winner for the Pirates, Barry was a major factor in the success of those Pirates teams of the early '90s and one of the greatest players to put on a Pirates uniform. We felt inviting Barry, along with our other living former MVP award winners in Dick Groat and Dave Parker, to participate is a classy way to recognize their contributions to the Pirates organization while celebrating Andrew for his.”
Major League Baseball was not involved in the decision to invite Bonds, the Pirates said.
Former manager Jim Leyland, who won two NL Manager of the Year awards with the Pirates, will present Clint Hurdle with his 2013 Manager of the Year award.
McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez will receive their Silver Slugger awards from former winner Jack Wilson.
Scott Kiner, son of Pirates Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. McCutchen's mother Petrina McCutchen will sing the national anthem.
Skydiving team Fastrax also will participate, flying into the ballpark and landing on the field with the American flag and a Pirates flag.