Dirk Nowitzki to throw out first pitch Friday

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Rangers' series opener with the New York Mets on Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The game starts at 7:05 p.m., and Nowitzki will throw the pitch shortly before the game begins.

Nowitzki, who won NBA Finals MVP on his way to leading the Mavericks to their first NBA championship earlier this month, averaged 27.7 points in 21 playoff games, helping the Mavs beat Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City and, of course, the Miami Heat.

Like the rest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Rangers players were big Mavericks fans throughout the playoff run. Many of them wore Mavs T-shirts, including Michael Young, a big Lakers fan who pulled for the Mavs once they bounced Los Angeles from the playoffs. Young wore a No. 41 Dirk T-shirt for many days while the Mavs were in the NBA Finals (and then after they won).

Fans can purchase tickets to the game by visiting texasrangers.com or calling 972-RANGERS.