ANAHIEM (CBS) — The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will play their home opener Friday night at Angel Stadium, the start of their season-long celebration of their 50th anniversary.

Eli Grba, the first player the Angels chose in the expansion draft that stocked the team, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Grba also was the starting pitcher in the Angels’ first game, a 7-2 victory at Baltimore on April 11, 1961, pitching a complete game.

A former Angel will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before all the team’s home games.

The Angels will wear jerseys from their past for all 13 of their Friday home games this season, wearing uniforms from the late 1980s tonight.

New food items at Angel Stadium this season include the “Angel’s Harvest” menu of veggie dogs, gluten-free sandwiches, locally sourced fresh fruit, black bean burgers, veggie wraps and an organic market green salad and other healthier snacks.

Melissa’s Harvest locations in the stadium will offer vegetarian menu items including a crudite cup, Caesar salad and fresh fruit.

On the field, the Angels will be trying to bounce back from their first losing season since 2003.

“I think we have a team that has the potential of being very good,” manager Mike Scioscia said last week, before the Angels began a six-game road trip where they went 3-3.

“We have terrific pitching. I think our defense is as good as we’ve seen in our 12 years here.”

During the off-season, the Angels acquired three-time all-star outfielder Vernon Wells in a three-player trade with Toronto, “but the biggest improvement on our club is going to come in house with guys like Erick Aybar, Bobby Abreu returning to form,” Scioscia said.

Outfielder Torii Hunter said rookie first baseman Mike Trumbo is one of the five best power hitters he has seen in his 19 years in professional baseball.

The Angels went 80-82 in 2010, finishing third in the four-team American League West Division, 10 games behind the division-winning Texas Rangers.

The Angels first home game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. Merrill says:

    Why didn’t the Angels celebrate their 50th anniversary during their 50th year, 2010? This is the 51st season.

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