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Pomp fits the circumstance

Pomp fits the circumstance

DENVER --The Rockies' two-game deficit entering Game 3 of the World Series didn't deter a packed house of Denver natives from welcoming the hometown team back to Coors Field on Saturday in loud and proud fashion.

Hosting the first Fall Classic game in franchise history, the Rockies pulled off an elaborate pregame ceremony that included all of the glitz and glitter that normally accompanies games of this magnitude.

The ceremony opened with the presentation of the field colors by various men and women currently serving in the United States military, as well as members of area police and fire departments.

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Represented on the field were the Littleton Fire Rescue Honor Guard, the Denver Sherriff's Department Honor Guard.

After the teams were introduced, two-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood performed the national anthem, which preceded a flyover by F-16 jets from the Colorado Air National Guard 120th Fighter Squadron Red Eyes, recently returning from Iraq.

The ceremonial first pitch honor went to two members of the armed forces: retired United States Marine Lance Corporal Kade Hinkhouse and retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Matt Keil, both of whom who served in Iraq.

Hinkhouse, a native of Burlington, Colo., was a purple heart award recipient, as was Keil, who has earned that honor twice.

Following the first pitch, Astros second baseman Craig Biggio was presented the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet. Biggio, who retired following the '07 season, accepted the award from Clemente's wife, Vera, and their sons, Roberto Jr. and Luis, as well as Major League Baseball chief operating officer Bob DuPuy and Chevrolet National Promotions manager Phil Caruso.

The official delivery of the game ball was presented by 17-year-old Alexandria Batiste from the Metro Denver Boys and Girls Club. She was accompanied to the mound by Rockies legend Vinny Castilla.

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During the seventh-inning stretch, Denver native Philip Bailey of the band Earth, Wind and Fire performed "God Bless America." Bailey is an eight-time Grammy winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

"This is one of the highlights of my life, no doubt about it," he said of singing in front of a packed house at Coors Field. "Denver, Colorado in the World Series, the third game and I'm singing 'God Bless America'. I would have never thought it being a kid growing up here. It's quite an honor."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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