ARLINGTON (WFAA) — Opening Day is one of those special occasions in sports where we typically see notable musicians and recording artists kick things off with the national anthem in front of a gigantic American flag and a sold-out crowd.
When the Texas Rangers open their 2017 season versus the Cleveland Indians at Globe Life Park on Monday night, the sold-out crowd and flag will be there.
But the anthem singer is far from typical.
“I really do not know how it originated or how people knew that I could sing,” said Rangers third base coach Tony Beasley. He has a voice that has been singing since he was a child in church choirs and can be heard during special celebrations in the Rangers’ clubhouse.
“Every time we have a birthday, I have to sing Happy Birthday.”
All eyes will be on Beasley before the first pitch, but the pressure of that moment pales in comparison to the last year. Before the start of the 2016 season, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer and was away from the team for most of the year. During that time Beasley held close the team motto manager Jeff Bannister adopted in 2015.
Win the day.
“In 2015, winning the day for me meant Rougned Odor or Elvis Andrus having a great day of practice,” said Beasley. “In 2016, winning the was me having joy and energy and being able to wake up and appreciate the sunrise and sunset. Things you took for granted, you don’t take for granted anymore.”
Beasley called himself a man of faith. Armed with that faith and the motto to win each day, he won enough of them to beat cancer. He will begin the 2017 season with a clean bill of health and without limitations.
And with one big performance.
“This is an honor. Why me? They could have anyone come in and sing for Opening Day but Jon Daniels asked me to do it and it is a privilege and an honor.”
But this will not be his first time his voice has been given the spotlight. Beasley has sung the anthem a handful of times as a player and coach at the minor league level, including one performance singing both the American and Canadian anthems at a 1997 game in Calgary.
His one opportunity in the Major Leagues came at PNC Park in Pittsburgh when he was 3rd base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010. But that was not on Opening Day and not anywhere near the crowd size he can expect Monday night in Arlington.
“I am going to be nervous but once I grab the mic, it is just me, the mic, and the flag. So we will get it done.”
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