The Texas Rangers today announced that the 43rd President of the United States , George W. Bush, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team’s 2009 home opener on Monday, April 6 against the Cleveland Indians (1:05 p.m.).
President Bush, who served two terms in the White House from 2001 until this past January, will be making his first appearance at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since 2000, when he was Governor of Texas. The former President was Managing General Partner of the Rangers from 1989-94 before his election as Texas Governor.
Rangers Owner and Chairman of the Board Tom Hicks and team President Nolan Ryan invited President Bush to participate in the first pitch ceremony earlier this year. The Rangers received official confirmation of the President’s attendance today.
This marks the fourth time that a United States President has participated in the first pitch ceremony at the Rangers home opener. While in office, President Gerald Ford did the honors on April 9, 1976, and President George Bush took part on April 8, 1991. Former President Bush also threw out the first pitch on April 3, 2000.
It is also the 23rd consecutive year that the Rangers have honored “Texas Heroes” as part of their opening day ceremonies.
The United States Army 4th Infantry Division Band from Fort Hood will perform during the pre-game ceremonies and will also play the Star Spangled Banner. A 100 by 300 foot American flag, carried by members of Fort Hood ’s 4th Infantry Division, will be unfurled in the outfield, and a military flyover will take place.
The 4th Infantry Division has recently returned to the United States from a 15-month deployment to Iraq . On May 17, 2008, the Rangers hosted over 750 family members of the 4th Infantry troops at Rangers Ballpark for a game with the Houston Astros. Via a special satellite hookup on the video board, the members of the 4th Infantry were able to communicate with their families on a very memorable night.
The Commanding General of the 4th Infantry is Major General Jeffery Hammond, who will participate on the on-field ceremonies on opening day. Major General Hammond spoke to the crowd from Camp Liberty , Iraq during the May 17 event.
Obstructed view and standing room only tickets remain for the home opener. All other reserved seats have been sold.
Source: Texas Rangers
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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