OPENING DAY PREGAME CEREMONIES TO FEATURE CELEBRATION OF ASTROS PAST AND PRESENT
Newly-elected Baseball Hall of Famer and Astros legend Craig Biggio will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to the Astros first-ever batting champion and two-time All-Star Jose Altuve as part of the pregame festivities. In July, Biggio will make history as the first player ever to be inducted into Cooperstown as a member of the Houston Astros. In addition to taking part in the first pitch, Altuve will also be honored by the Astros for his historic 2014 season, which was one of the best by any second baseman in Major League history. Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane and Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan will be on hand to make a very special presentation to Altuve on the field.
Additionally, Astros Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who will be 88 years young later this summer, will make a special appearance during the ceremony before turning over the microphone to popular, long-time Astros TV play-by-play announcer Bill Brown. Brown will then handle the introductions of both lineups, live from the field. Finally, the Houston wing of the Commemorative Air Force will perform a flyover during the National Anthem, performed by Sony Music Recording Artist and America's Got Talent finalist, Emily West.
EARLY ARRIVAL ENCOURAGED
The on-field pregame ceremonies will begin at approximately 5:25 p.m. The Astros strongly encourage fans to arrive early to Minute Maid Park in anticipation of the sellout crowd.
14th ANNUAL OPENING DAY STREET FESTIVAL
Once again, the Astros Opening Day festivities for fans will begin at 1:00 p.m. with the 14th Annual Opening Day Street Festival, which will take place on Crawford Street, presented by Budweiser. This year's festival once again has no admission charge and will have an energetic, fun atmosphere that will include live music performed by the Scooter Brown Band on the Budweiser Stage, performances from Percussion 1 Drumline and the Stomp Factory, an interactive vendor expo, popular local gourmet food trucks, drinks, prizes and activities for all ages. Other activities, including a rock wall, face painters, caricature artists, bungee runs, corn hole, giant Jenga, the Budweiser build-a-bar and more, will also be a part of the event. Astros mascot Orbit will also be in attendance to provide his special brand of entertainment for Astros fans. The Street Festival will also include special appearances by Astros players Collin McHugh and Hank Conger, new manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow. All activities and appearances are subject to change.
MINUTE MAID PARK TO FEATURE NEW GRASS FIELD IN 2015
The Houston Astros have installed a new grass infield and outfield at Minute Maid Park for the 2015 season. The new grass (Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE) was purchased from a farm in Georgia and then moved to a farm in Alabama for custom care in July. The sod was custom-grown to the Astros specifications, delivered and installed by the same crew that grew and installed the grass used at University of Phoenix Stadium for the 2015 Super Bowl.
The grass type (Seashore Paspalum), which has been used at Minute Maid Park since 2008, was selected due to its ability to handle time under the roof without sunlight.
SCHEDULE FOR OPENING DAY - MONDAY, APRIL 6
1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.: 14th annual Opening Day Street Festival on Crawford Street (free admission)
2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.: Pep Rally featuring manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow, hosted by Robert Ford, on the Budweiser Stage
2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.: Q&A with RHP Collin McHugh and C Hank Conger, hosted by Robert Ford, on the Budweiser Stage
3:00 p.m.: All gates open to the ballpark
5:25 p.m.: Pregame field ceremonies begin
6:08 p.m.: Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros