TEXAS RANGERS OPENING DAY ACTIVITIES
Tom Grieve and Bobby Jones to throw out ceremonial first pitches
in honor of their 50th years in professional baseball
Arlington, Texas –The Texas Rangers’ 45th opener in Arlington take place this afternoon when the club hosts the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park in Arlington at 3:09 p.m. The home opener is a complete sellout.
Highlights of the opening day ceremonies:
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: In 1967, a pair of outfielders began their professional baseball careers playing in Geneva, New York for the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Washington Senators. Fifty years later, Tom Grieve and Bobby Jones remain integral members of the Texas Rangers organization. To honor their 50th years in professional baseball, Grieve and Jones will throw out ceremonial first pitches prior to the 2016 season opener.
Originally drafted by Washington in the first round of the 1966 June draft, Grieve did not make his pro debut until the following year. He made his major league debut with the Senators in 1970 and then played for the Rangers from 1972-77, earning the club’s Player of the Year honors in 1976 with career highs of 20 homers and 81 RBI. After completing his playing career in 1979, Grieve joined the Texas front office the following year and went on to serve as the club’s General Manager from September 1984-September 1994. For the last 22 years, he has been the primary analyst on the Rangers’ television broadcasts. Having spent nearly 49 of his 50 years in professional baseball with the franchise, Grieve was elected to the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
After three minor league seasons, Jones served 14 months in Vietnam before resuming his career in 1971. Making his major league debut with the Rangers in 1974, he went on to the California Angels organization in 1976 and then played two years in Japan before rejoining the Rangers in 1981. Jones was a valuable pinch-hitter and reserve outfielder from 1983-86 and then began a long career as a manager in the Texas minor league system. In 24 years, his clubs won 1656 games and advanced to the post-season 12 times. Jones has also had three different stints on the major league coaching staff and will serve as the team’s replay coordinator in 2016 after two years as the assistant hitting coach.
Catching the first pitches will be a pair of Rangers Hall of Famers, catcher Ivan Rodriguez and outfielder Rusty Greer, both of whom played for Jones in the minor leagues.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Star Spangled Banner will be sung by country music star Neal McCoy, a native of Jacksonville, Texas who has performed a number of top hits and produced platinum and gold albums during a 30-year career. The National Anthem will be preceded by a live performance of Texas, Our Texas by Joel Lagrone. McCoy will also sing God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch.
HAIL TO THE A.L. WEST CHAMPS: The opening day ceremonies will include the official raising of the 2015 A.L. West Division Championship flag on top of the centerfield office building.
FLYOVER: Following the National Anthem, there will be a United States Air Force flyover. The 301st Fighter Wing, based out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, is an Air Force Reserve F-16 unit with approximately 2,200 Airmen. The wing has a rich history dating back to the mid-1940s. From flying the P-47 and P-51 during World War II to flying the Fighting Falcon F-16 today, the wing continues to make history. Since September 11, 2001, the men and women of the 301st Fighter Wing have deployed in support of various missions around the world from South America to East Asia and many countries in between. They are stationed locally, serving globally.
SALUTE THE FLAG: Large United States and State of Texas flags will be unfurled in centerfield and on Greene’s Hill, respectively by Texas Rangers season ticket holders and their families.
BIG SHOW: The Ashley Game Ball Delivery will be made by seven-time WWE world heavyweight champion Big Show, who will be in Texas as part of the five-day WrestleMania activities, highlighted by WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night. Big Show, whose real name is Paul Donald Wight, Jr. is 7-feet tall and weighs approximately 450 pounds.
MOMENT OF SILENCE: Prior to the National Anthem, a moment of silence will be observed for two members of the Rangers’ family who have passed away in recent months. Edward W. “Rusty” Rose, who served as the team’s General Partner from 1989-98, died on January 29. John McMichael, who was a front office executive for the club from 1984-2002, passed away on March 31.
HAMELS’ HEROES: For the 2016 season, Texas Rangers fans will have a chance to rally behind Cole Hamels each time he takes the mound at Globe Life Park in Arlington, starting with Opening Day. Section 9 of the Lower Reserved seats has been designated Hamels’ Heroes for each of his home starts. Fans who purchase a Hamels’ Hero ticket for Section 9 on the date of a projected Cole Hamels start will receive a specially designed Hamels’ Heroes t-shirt and “K” card.
56 AND COUNTING: Nancy Wangner will attend her 56th consecutive home opener for the Washington/Texas franchise this afternoon. The wife of the late longtime club executive Charles Wangner, Ms. Wangner was in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. for the first game played by the expansion Washington Senators on April 10, 1961 and has been at every home opener for the Senators (1961-71) and Rangers (1972-2016) since that time. Charles Wangner worked for the franchise from 1961-96 before his passing in 2010.
MORE ACTIVITIES: In addition to the introductions of the Mariners and Rangers, members of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame will also be introduced pre-game on-field. All fans, 21 years of age and older will receive a Rangers Budweiser Opening Day Magnetic Schedule as they enter the park.
TIMELINE: Globe Life Park in Arlington cash parking lots will open at 10:00 a.m. and ballpark gates will open at 12 noon on opening day. The Rangers encourage fans to arrive early on opening day. As was instituted in 2015, all fans will be required to undergo Major League Baseball mandated metal detection screening before entering the ballpark.
In addition, the IH 30 Managed Lane, will be open going Westbound from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and will be open going Eastbound from 6:00 until 11:00 p.m.
OPENING DAY NOTES: The Rangers are 21-23 overall in season openers, losing the last three since defeating the White Sox in Arlington in 2012. This is the third time Texas has played Seattle in the season’s opening game but the first occasion at home, winning in the Kingdome in 1992 and losing at Safeco Field in 2008. The Rangers are 23-21 in home openers, dropping two in a row. This marks the 25th time in 45 years that the Rangers have opened a season in Arlington.
REST OF SERIES: The Rangers and Mariners conclude the series with a 7:05 p.m. game on Tuesday, April 5 and a 1:05 p.m. contest on Wednesday, April 6. Good seats remain for both games.
Tickets for Rangers 2016 home games can be purchased at texasrangers.com, by calling 972RANGERS, or at the Globe Life Park in Arlington first base ticket office.