"Just honoring them, being there for them, is outstanding," Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. "We cannot change what happened. I wish we could. But at the same time, we're trying to bring them a lot of good moments and just trying to take the tragedy away from their minds for a little bit.
"Hopefully, we will have a great game so they can enjoy and we will honor them the right way."
Monday's ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former Yankees outfielder and manager Lou Piniella, while Broadway star Constantine Maroulis performed the national anthem. A moment of silence was also held for former Yankees right-hander Bob Turley, who won the 1958 Cy Young Award and died on Saturday at the age of 82.
The Yankees and Red Sox took the field wearing special ribbons on their uniforms to honor those lost and affected by the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown tragedy. The ribbons were also painted on the field in front of both dugouts, and Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig has asked the other 28 Major League teams to follow suit in wearing the ribbon during their respective Opening Day games.
"I think it's important to say thank you," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The town of Newtown went through so much during the last four or five months, and you think about being a responder. Sometimes we don't think about what they go through and how important they are during a situation like that.
"I think it's nice that we're getting an opportunity to say thank you for all that you do, because they're obviously going to do more as the future goes on."
On July 7, approximately 3,000 children, families and members of the Newtown community will be invited to celebrate summer recess by attending the Yankees' 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. The date will be proclaimed "Newtown Day at Yankee Stadium."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.