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OPENING DAY 2012 WILL MARK BEGINNING OF NEW ERA AND CELEBRATE FRANCHISE’S 50th ANNIVERSARY

Astros Will Host Colorado Rockies at 6:05 p.m. at Minute Maid Park

HOUSTON, TX - Opening Day in Major League Baseball is a truly unique event that carries special meaning to each team’s city and its fans. It is like no other in professional sports. In 2012, Opening Day for the Houston Astros will be even more special and carry more significance as the franchise embarks on a new era while remembering and honoring its first 50 years in Major League Baseball. The Astros open the season on April 6 with a 6:05 p.m. game vs. the Colorado Rockies at Minute Maid Park.

The 2012 season marks the 50th anniversary of Major League Baseball in Houston, with the celebrations throughout this historic milestone presented by The Methodist Hospital System. The 2012 season also marks a new start for the Astros under Owner and Chairman Jim Crane, who led his ownership group in the purchase of the franchise in November. Since taking over the ball club, Crane has instituted several initiatives in an effort to reach out to Astros fans. On the field, the Astros will feature an energetic, enthusiastic, young team.

11th Annual Opening Day Street Festival

On April 6, the Astros begin with the 11th Annual Opening Day Street Festival (11:30 a.m-4:30 p.m.), which takes place at KBR Plaza on Crawford St. This year’s festival once again has no admission charge and will have a fun, upbeat atmosphere that will include live music performed by the Houston cover band The Slags, interactive games, food, drink and prizes. Astros mascot Junction Jack and cousins, Jesse and Julie, will also be in attendance to help the fans get pumped up for the season.

Pregame Field Ceremonies

The pregame ceremonies will include several of the franchise’s most recognizable players as part of the 50th anniversary celebration. Astros icons Jeff Bagwell, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker and Jimmy Wynn will be on the field during the ceremonies and headline a list of popular former players who will continue to participate in the club’s anniversary celebrations this year. Craig Biggio will be unable to attend the Opening Day ceremonies, but will be a part of the Astros 50th anniversary celebration throughout the season. Seton Hall University will be honoring Biggio by retiring his baseball jersey the morning of Saturday, April 7, prior to their game against Notre Dame. Biggio’s oldest son, Conor, is a member of the Fighting Irish baseball team and will also be present for the ceremony.

Popular country music artist Clay Walker, a native of Beaumont, TX, will sing the national anthem at Minute Maid Park and will return during the game to sing “God Bless America” and then “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. The Astros ROOT, ROOT, ROOT campaign is based on the popular “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” song, and Walker will be the first to lead the fans in singing it during an Astros game.

Opening Day will feature a military flyover immediately following the national anthem, weather permitting. To begin the pregame ceremonies, a giant United States flag and Texas state flag will be carried onto the field. Eight Budweiser Clydesdale horses will also be on the field during the ceremony.

Additionally, 20,000 fans arriving at Minute Maid Park will receive a 2012 schedule magnet courtesy of United Airlines. The Astros will also use Opening Day as a way to help the community by hosting a blood drive in partnership with ARAMARK and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center from noon – 7 p.m. in the Union Station building at Minute Maid Park. Individuals who donate blood or attempt to donate blood will receive an Astros t-shirt and will be entered into a drawing for tickets to a future Astros game. Donors do not need to possess a game ticket to donate blood, but will need a game ticket to attend the Opening Day game.

Information on purchasing Opening Day tickets or tickets to any Astros home game can be found at www.astros.com or by calling 713-259-8500.

OPENING DAY SCHEDULE – FRIDAY, APRIL 6

11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: 11th Annual Opening Day Street Festival at KBR Plaza

4:00 p.m.: Gates open to Minute Maid Park

5:35 p.m.: Pregame field ceremonies begin

6:05 p.m.: Colorado Rockies at Houston Astros

-Astros-

CONTACT:
Astros Media Relations
713-259-8900

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