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3/31/2013 12:42 P.M. ET

Astros set to celebrate historic 2013 Opening Day

Will Officially Begin Inaugural AL Season vs. New Division Rival Texas Rangers in Exclusive MLB Season Opener Sunday; Fun-Filled Street Festival and On-Field Ceremony Featuring Lyle Lovett, J.J. Watt Will be Part of Festivities

There is nothing like Major League Baseball's Opening Day, but this year carries extra special meaning for the Houston Astros as they embark on their first season in the American League, becoming the first team in baseball history to make the move from the National League to the AL. The Astros leave the NL Central Division and dive into the American League West, facing new opponents the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Seattle Mariners, the Oakland Athletics and intrastate rivals the Texas Rangers, along with other American League heavy hitters the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Astros season opener at Minute Maid Park against the Rangers on Sunday, March 31 is the exclusive 2013 season opener for Major League Baseball, marking another first for the Astros organization.  The game will be broadcast nation-wide on ESPN at 7:05pm CT, and can also be found on the Astros flagship radio station, 790 KBME AM and our Spanish flagship station KLAT 1010 AM.

12th Annual Opening Day Street Festival
Before all of the action starts on the field, the Astros will kick off Opening Day festivities with the 12th Annual Opening Day Street Festival, presented by Champion Energy Services (1:00 p.m-6:00 p.m.), which takes place 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 Josh Fuller Band from the Budweiser stage, interactive games, food trucks, drinks and prizes. Astros mascot Orbit will also be in attendance, getting pumped up for the regular season.

Pregame Field Ceremonies
NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt will be throwing out the first pitch for the inaugural season opener. An avid Houston sports fan, Watt took batting practice with the Astros Friday night before their exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs and has been seen on-screen and around town sporting his Astros gear. Renowned country singer and four-time Grammy winner Lyle Lovett will sing the National Anthem, rounding out the star-studded Opening Day celebrations.

But amidst all of the fun and excitement that go along with Opening Day, we will be taking a moment of silence to honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros are proud to not only honor the memories of the children and teachers of Sandy Hook, but also to celebrate their lives by featuring special patches on our players' uniforms.

Astros 4,000th Win
The Astros currently have 3,999 regular season franchise victories, and if this inaugural American League season wasn't momentous enough, the next win marking big number 4,000 most certainly adds to the excitement.

Ticketing Information
Information on purchasing Opening Day tickets or tickets to any Astros home game can be found at  
www.astros.com or by calling 1-877-9ASTROS.
1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: 12th Annual Opening Day Street Festival on Crawford Street
2:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.: Pep Rally featuring Jeff Luhnow, Bo Porter, Eduardo Perez, Lucas Harrell and Philip Humber, emceed by Milo Hamilton, taking place on the Budweiser Stage at Street Fest
4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.: Pep Rally featuring radio broadcasters Robert Ford and Steve Sparks, emceed by Milo Hamilton, taking place on the Budweiser Stage at Street Fest
5:00 p.m.: Gates open to Minute Maid Park
6:30 p.m.: Pregame field ceremonies begin
7:05 p.m.: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros


This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.