PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In a sure sign of spring, the Pirates will take the field over at PNC Park this afternoon for their 2011 home opener.

The Pirates host the Colorado Rockies at 1:35 p.m.

Baseball fans are set to flood the North Shore as they head over to the ballpark for game time, and there is plenty planned before the first pitch.

The gates open at 11:30 a.m. and all fans will get a 2011 Pirates magnetic schedule.

The pre-game festivities include a tribute to late Pirates legend Chuck Tanner. Also, members of the military will be honored.

Tanner, who passed away back in February, guided the Pirates to the World Series championship in 1979. Several of his family members and some former players will be on hand for the ceremony.

Once the tribute is unveiled, it will be on display at PNC Park all season long. A video remembrance is also planned.

For the military tribute, a color guard made up of local representatives from all five branches of the military will take the field.

There will also be a moment of silence to honor members of the Pirates family who have passed away, as well as for those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The team is set to collect donations to help those natural disaster victims, with all proceeds going to UNICEF.

The team will also announce the recipient of the annual Pride of the Pirates award.

Then, the first pitch will be thrown out by Chuck Tanner’s son, Bruce, and caught by former Pirate Manny Sanguillen.

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