ARLINGTON -- Former President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Rangers president Nolan Ryan before Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday for the second year in a row.
This time, though, it was sans his father, President George H.W. Bush, who had accompanied his son to the mound before Game 4 here in 2010.
The younger Bush, who on Sunday zipped in a fastball from the front edge of the mound, was making his third such appearance on the mound at Rangers Ballpark. He also threw out the first pitch on Opening Day 2009, shortly after leaving the White House.
"I think it's great," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "Of all my long career, the thing I like most about him, he and I used to play baseball trivia -- sometimes during meetings, when we weren't supposed to be doing it."
Prior to serving as the 43rd president, Bush was the Rangers' managing general partner from 1989-94, with this ballpark opening in that last year, and he was a member of the team's ownership group from 1989-98. He visited the Cardinals' clubhouse before his outing, posing for a picture with rehabbing ace Adam Wainwright. Then, Bush sat for a while on the bench in the Rangers' dugout along with Ryan. Both received loud ovations when introduced to the sellout Texas crowd.
"He's the perfect guy to do it," Selig said of Bush. "Got the ballpark built -- absolutely."
Zooey Deschanel, recording artist and star of the new FOX television series "New Girl," sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." She had tweeted that she "will cry" in doing so, but she appeared to make it through without tears and has some experience on the postseason stage. Deschanel, who has earned critical and popular acclaim for her band "She & Him," performed "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch of Game 3 in the 2010 National League Championship Series between the Phillies and Giants at AT&T Park.
After her performance, Deschanel walked back through the clubhouse tunnel, came out onto the main clubhouse concourse and was immediately surrounded by a bevy of Rangers groundskeepers and other employees, who got a group photo.
Deschanel also posed for a photo with Ken Griffey Jr., who just happened to be there after the presentation of his Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award.
Rangers season-ticket holders unfurled a giant American flag in the shape of the U.S. in the outfield before Deschanel's performance. The Sheppard Air Force Base Honor Guard from Wichita Falls, Texas, presented the colors, and the Air Force's 344th Recruiting Squadron from Arlington unfurled the Texas flag in the batter's eye.
Instead of the thunderous flyover of Game 3 here, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Texas Army National Guard based in nearby Grand Prairie, Texas, flew over the ballpark.
Master Sgt. Erika Stevens of the Texas Air National Guard was tapped to sing "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.
Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach is scheduled to throw out the first pitch before Game 5 on Monday, with Demi Lovato singing the national anthem.