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03/31/2011 6:15 PM ET
News and happenings for the A's Opening Weekend and upcoming season
A's host Japanese Heritage Day, raise funds for Earthquake disaster relief Sunday
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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OAKLAND, Calif. - The Oakland A's open the 2011 season at home this year at 7:05 p.m. Friday, April 1 against the Seattle Mariners, followed by a 6:05 p.m. game Saturday and 1:05 p.m. series finale Sunday. Here are some highlights of upcoming events, new items of interest, ticket specials and news notes about the first homestand and the upcoming season:

Promotions and Special Events

OPENING WEEKEND: A's 2011 Opening Night Friday, April 1 features former A's World Series MVP and All-Star pitcher Dave Stewart tossing out the ceremonial first pitch (set for 7:00 p.m.), and fans attending the game will receive an A's Magnetic Schedule, courtesy of Farmers Insurance. Saturday is Pet Adoption Day, sponsored by Avoderm Natural, and 10,000 fans will receive the A's annual Pet Calendar, courtesy of Avoderm Natural. Sunday, the A's and Mariners will celebrate Japanese Heritage Day and 10,000 fans will be given complimentary Hideki Matsui t-shirts, presented by Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. Pre-game festivities will include an on-field ceremony and relief-effort check presentation featuring Matsui, the San Francisco Japanese Consul-General Hiroshi Inomata, and Japanese Heritage Day sponsors.

PROMOTIONAL GIVEAWAYS: The A's feature an attractive promotional giveaway lineup for 2011, highlighted by the team's first-ever Rickey Henderson bobblehead, which will be given away on Saturday, April 30, presented by Kingsford Capital Management. Henderson is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the A's play the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers. Other promotions include a Kids Bat Day presented by Ross Dress For Less (May 14), a Kurt Suzuki gold replica jersey sponsored by Pepsi Max (July 31), and five fireworks nights, including a show over the 4th of July weekend (scheduled dates are May 28, July 2, July 29, Aug. 20, Sept.16). The A's will also offer a Ray Fosse bobblehead, presented by Comcast SportsNet California (Aug. 13), and an MC Hammer bobblehead, sponsored by Supercuts, to punctuate '80s Weekend (July 17). A's '80s Day at the Coliseum, set for July 17, will feature A's players dressed in mid-'80s home white uniforms with Oakland across the chest, '80s themed music and MC Hammer, who worked as a batboy at the Coliseum before launching his music career, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

DOUBLEHEADER: Oakland has scheduled a traditional doubleheader as part of '80s Weekend on Saturday, July 16 against the Los Angeles Angels, giving fans an opportunity to see two games for the price of one. It is the club's first scheduled doubleheader in 14 years (Aug. 10, 1997 vs. Milwaukee), and is intended to bring fans back to the 1980s when such all-day baseball experiences were regularly offered by the A's and other clubs. First game starts at 1:05 p.m., with only 30 minutes between games.

Community Relations

JAPAN RELIEF FUNDRAISING: In their ongoing efforts to support victims of the Japanese earthquake disaster, the A's will donate $1 for every ticket sold to their Sunday, April 3 game against the Mariners at the Oakland Coliseum to the Red Cross for their relief efforts in Japan. The benefit game, which will showcase Japan's two greatest modern-day players in Oakland's Hideki Matsui and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, is also Japanese Heritage Day at the Coliseum, featuring pre-game ceremonies and entertainment. Yet most importantly, the game will feature many fund-raising components to support the Japanese relief efforts.

Beyond the $1 per ticket commitment by the A's organization, corporate sponsors for Japanese Heritage Day, including title sponsor Capcom and presenting sponsors NetSuite and Fujitsu, will also contribute thousands of dollars to the cause. Besides purchasing a game ticket, fans will be encouraged to donate in the following ways:

- Silent Auction - Before and during the April 3 game, the A's will conduct a silent auction of signed and game-used baseball equipment by Oakland players, with 100 percent of the proceeds raised going to the relief efforts.
- Matsui Autographed Photos - A limited supply of personally-signed 8x10 color photos of Matsui will also be sold for $50 each.
- Framed Autograph Jerseys - Personally-signed game jerseys worn by Japanese baseball icons Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki on 2011 Opening Night will be added to the Silent Auction on April 3.
- Fan Donations - Fans can make tax-deductible donations to the A's Community Fund at the A's silent auction table (behind section 120) during the game or online at www.oaklandathletics.com/japan, with 100 percent of those proceeds-along with money raised from the April 3 game--given to the Red Cross.

Ticket Specials

"FREE HOT DOG THURSDAYS": New this season, is the "Free Hot Dog Thursday's" promotion, when every Thursday game, 10,000 fans will receive a voucher upon entry, redeemable for a free hot dog from concession stands for that day's game. Free Hot Dog Thursdays will replace the $1 hot dog promotion that previously ran on Wednesdays. BART $2 WEDNESDAYS: Fans may purchase Plaza Level, Plaza Outfield and Plaza Reserved tickets for $2 every Wednesday home game during the season.

CHEVY FREE PARKING TUESDAYS: As a part of the Chevy Free Parking Tuesdays promotion, fans can park for free ($17 savings) at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum for most Tuesday home games.

XFINITY FRIDAY FAMILY PACK: Every Friday during the regular season, fans can purchase four Plaza Level tickets and four meals (Coliseum hot dog, medium drink, bag of peanuts) for only $50 ($150 value).

COLLEGE STUDENTS AND ACTIVE MILITARY DISCOUNT: Upon presentation of an ID, college students and military members are eligible for $5 Plaza Reserved tickets for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday games during the season (excluding Premium Games). Discount available day of game only.

KIDS AND SENIORS DISCOUNT: Kids (14 and under) and seniors (60 and over) can purchase $10 Plaza Outfield tickets for all games during the season.

JUMBO TICKETS: The A's will continue to offer the recently launched Value Deck and Plaza Club seating, where the price of each ticket includes a set dollar amount redeemable for merchandise and concessions. Value Deck tickets start at just $12, including $6 of stored value for food or merchandise, for seats that provide a view from the section above home plate.

A's MINI SUITES: Mini suites allow fans to experience a Premium Suite with an attractive meal package designed for smaller groups, offered at an affordable price. For as little as $99 per person, minimum six people, A's fans can experience a game from the Suites while enjoying a food package that includes hot dogs, sliders, wings, popcorn, and beverages.

TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for A's home games can be purchased at all usual ticket outlets, including the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Box Office, online at www.oaklandathletics.com/tickets, or over the phone by calling (877) 493-BALL. Season, group (including all fundraising options) and suite tickets can be purchased by calling (510) 638-GoA's (4627). Individual game tickets are priced at $48 (MVP), $35 (Field Infield), $32 (Plaza Club), $30 (Lower Box), $26 (Field Level), $26 (Plaza Infield), $24 (Plaza Level), $18 (Plaza Outfield), $13 (Bleachers), $12 (Value Deck) and $9 (Plaza Reserved). All 2011 Premium games are dynamically priced; prices will vary. Base ticket pricing for 2011 Premium Games are set at $55 (MVP), $42 (Plaza Club), $40 (Field Infield), $40 (Lower Box), $32 (Plaza Infield), $30 (Field Level), $26 (Plaza Level), $20 (Plaza Outfield), $15 (Value Deck), $15 (Bleachers) and $9 (Plaza Reserved).

What's New in the Coliseum

NEW FOOD IN THE COLISEUM: ARAMARK concessions, premium catering and dining services will feature many new food items this season throughout Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Concessions at sections 113 and 121 now feature a Mamacitas Carnitas and a Bacon Jalapeno Meatloaf Sandwich; Red's All Star Smokehouse at section 104 will showcase a BBQ Brisket Brisket, BBQ Pork and BBQ Chicken; new at section 132 is a Double Cheese Burger, Cheese Burger, Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Polar Ice (slushies); and new in the Pub behind section 119 is a traditional Pastrami on Rye.

The West Side Club will also feature several new items this season, including a Hummus Dip with whole wheat flatbread, Grilled Shrimp with mixed greens, Seasonal Market Salad, grilled marinated Chicken Sandwich, half slab of BBQ Baby Back Ribs and 10" thin crust Pepperoni Pizza.

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