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The Chicago White Sox are hosting fans at Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time since 2019 Thursday for their home opener against the Kansas City Royals.
DIANE PATHIEU: I really do. And I promise I'm smiling underneath my mask. It is opening day here at Sox Park, and fans will be here. What an exciting time. First of all, the weather so far is absolutely gorgeous, and the fact that fans are going to come back just makes you feel so much better.
About 10,000 of them are going to be here at the ballpark. And because of the pandemic, of course, there are new measures that are in place to ensure safety for all. That includes, all fans ages two and over need to wear a face mask from the parking lot all the way into the ballpark. So keep that in mind.
Joining me this morning is Christine O'Reilly, who's with White Sox Charities. Christine, I'm so happy to see you, good morning!
CHRISTINE O'REILLY: Good morning, Diane. We were just talking-- isn't this just amazing, to be here, to be able to watch the ballpark wake up for the dawn of another season? We're so excited.
DIANE PATHIEU: And you've been here, and watched this team progress over the years. And Christine, what an exciting time to welcome back fans.
CHRISTINE O'REILLY: It's been a rough year, I have to say.
DIANE PATHIEU: Let's talk about charities. Let's talk about a great big old jackpot waiting for the fans when they get in.
CHRISTINE O'REILLY: You know we're so excited. As always, our Sox split our 50-50 raffle presented by Wintrust. We have a really exciting $100,000 jackpot today. So that means that, minimally, a winner will take home $50,000. What a great way, right, for fans to just add to the excitement of opening day with the chance to win some cash.
DIANE PATHIEU: And you know a lot of people could really use that money right now. Is a win-win situation.
CHRISTINE O'REILLY: Yes, a little bit of difference this year. Even though we have fans in the stands and we can't wait to see their real faces, not their cardboard faces from last year. All Sox Split raffle ticket sales are online. So, you can do it through the Ballpark app, you can do it at whitesox.com/soxsplit. And the drawing today goes until the seventh inning of the game, so people have lots of time to get in on the excitement.
DIANE PATHIEU: So speaking of doing things virtually, because that is sort of the way we still have to do things during this pandemic, you do have an event coming up, that's virtual, that's raising money as well.
CHRISTINE O'REILLY: We do. April 25, Beyond the Diamond, from home this year. We're going to do our big kickoff gala. It'll be a virtual event, lots of information online at whitesox.com, go to the community relations site or whitesoxcharities.org. Lots of information on how fans can live stream that event. We're going to have lots of players involved, Tony is going to be involved. We've got game shows with the players, even a Newlywed Game with the players and their wives. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to support the Chicago philanthropic community through your support of White Sox Charities.
DIANE PATHIEU: Thank you so very much for being here with us this morning. Happy opening day. That's White Sox Park opening day, it's going to be a good one. Don't forget the 3:10 start time against the Kansas City Royals.