Red Sox honor retiring DH David Ortiz before home opener

"Big League Brian" on stilts laughs with fans on Yawkey Way before the home opener baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, Monday, April 11, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) The Red Sox asked their fans to imagine a world without David Ortiz, then spent the rest of a pregame ceremony reminding the city what he has meant to the franchise.

Opening the festivities with John Lennon's ''Imagine'' accompanying highlights from Ortiz's career, the Red Sox celebrated their retiring designated hitter before Monday's home opener.

Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Bill Russell along with Patriots defensive back Ty Law shared the pitcher's mound with Ortiz for the first pitch. Then former teammates Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek joined him to shout the ceremonial ''Play Ball!''

Ortiz's daughter, Alex, sang the national anthem.

Ortiz has said he will retire after this season.