Rangers' home opener festivities include Pudge, governor

'Texas Toss' part of pregame program with special guests from Air Force

Rangers' home opener festivities include Pudge, governor

The Rangers are getting set for a Texas-style home opener against the Astros on April 10. Texas governor Greg Abbott will throw out a "Texas Toss" to Pudge Rodriguez before the in-state rivals are introduced, and the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by retired Air Force veteran Nicholas Bradley.

Bradley, a staff sergeant, will be representing the programs offered by the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Bradley flew more than 200 surveillance missions during the war in Iraq and also worked on a personal security detail for five General Officers. Bradley won Airman of the Year and the Purple Heart; he survived an incident in which his vehicle was struck by 20 pounds of anti-tank explosives.

Abbott, the 48th governor of Texas, took office in January and will make a throw to Rodriguez, the former catching great and current special assistant to the general manager. Joel LaGrone will sing a rendition of "Texas, Our Texas" prior to Abbott's ceremonial toss, and the national anthem will be performed by the United State Air Force Band of the West from Lackland Air Force Base.

A large United States flag will be unfurled in center field during the anthem, and there will be a flyover from the 301st Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force. That unit, based at Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, is composed of more than 2,000 airmen who are stationed locally and serve around the world.

Globe Life Park in Arlington will open at noon CT on Opening Day, and fans are encouraged to arrive as early as possible. All fans will be required to undergo metal detection screening before entering the ballpark. Texas and Houston will play again at Globe Life Park on April 11 at 7:05 p.m.

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