Opening Day festivities include appearances by Bagwell, Cruuuuuz, military jets and Clydesdales. Play ball!

The 2012 season will be all about reflecting on a fantastic 50-year history of baseball in Houston, while looking ahead to a new era, complete with a new owner, new front office leadership and long-term plan to win.

Tributes to former players and great moments will be celebrated all season. Consider Opening Day a preview of things to come, with four iconic figures slated to join in on the pageantry during Opening Day pregame ceremonies.

Jeff Bagwell, Larry Dierker, Jimmy Wynn and Jose Cruz will appear on the field during the ceremony, representing nearly every era of Astros baseball. (Craig Biggio will be unable to attend due to a prior commitment.)

Jeff Bagwell

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.

Opening Day will also feature a flyover by military jets (weather permitting) immediately following the national anthem.

Additionally, 20,000 fans arriving at Minute Maid Park will receive a 2012 schedule magnet courtesy of United Airlines.

Jim Crane

Other Opening Day details:

The day will begin with the 11th Annual Opening Day Street Festival (11:30 a.m to 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.

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.

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 to 7:00 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 or by calling 713-259-8500.

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

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I will be there!!!! Can’t wait!!!! As many games as I have been to, this will be my first opening day.

This will be my second in a row to attend Opening Day with my daughter and son!!!

Very nice, but the opening sentence should read, “The 2012 season will be all about mourning a fantastic 50-year history of National League baseball in Houston,”

I am so ready for the season to start. This will be my first time to ever come to opening day. I can’t wait to see what it is like to be there for the first game of the year!!!

My first Opening Day…this is going to be an AWESOME Good Friday! Go “Stros!

Good job! This will be 13 straight opening says for me. When the new ballpark opened I decided to start a tradition of going to Opening Day. Go Astros!

This year makes 15 straight Opening Days for me. It’s going to be great.

i cant wait for opening day!!!!!!!

So excited!! Root! Root! Root!

Owner has no clue about the game of baseball. Making money is ALL he is concerned about. Where are the good pitchers, good hitters, and good fielders?

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