ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The new baseball season is finally here! Opening Day 2018 has arrived at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Texas Rangers are set to do battle with the World Series champion Houston Astros at 2:35 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, and the stands are expected to be packed.

“Opening Day, it’s always fantastic,” said Chuck Morgan, the voice of the Rangers. “It’s been a long winter and we’re ready for baseball season to start!” The parking lots open at 9:30 a.m. and the gates open to fans at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. The teams will hit the field for batting practice just before noon.

It should be a perfect day for baseball. After a week filled with heavy rain and loud storms, the showers are moving out of the area just in time for the Rangers to take the field. There is still a 20 percent chance for rain in North Texas, but that should not impact Opening Day very much, if at all.

The tarp was still covering the diamond on Thursday morning, as grounds crews worked to get the field ready for the game.

“It’s going to be a good day,” added Morgan.

Fans heading out to the ballpark for Opening Day — or any other day this season — can look forward to some new offerings at the food stands. “We’re so excited to have another season and come out with nice, fun, crazy ideas when it comes to food here in the ballpark,” said executive chef Chris Vasquez.

Forget about the peanuts and Cracker Jack. This year’s highlight is the Dilly Dog. “It is a pickle, fill it with all-beef hot dog, dip it in a corny dog batter,” Vasquez explained. That is just one of 10 new delicious food items being served up at Globe Life Park this summer.

If you would rather satisfy your sweet tooth, try the new 7th Inning Cinnamon Roll. It has everything that your taste buds will want. It’s a large cinnamon roll fried in funnel cake batter, then drizzled with chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce and powdered sugar. That will be hard to pass up!

Along with new food, the Rangers also have new merchandise on the shelves including hats and shirts with throwback logos.

Of course, some of the best items are being given away free to fans for just walking through the gate. The promotional items at the ballpark are always a big draw, and this year has another fantastic lineup. This season includes unique bobbleheads for fan favorites like Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Joey Gallo. Check the Rangers promo schedule to see what is being offered.

After picking up your new Rangers gear and getting stuffed with ballpark food, make sure that you head up to the observation deck of Globe Life Park this season. It overlooks the construction being done on Texas Live! and the new Rangers ballpark, set to open for the 2020 season.

The upper deck gives fans a chance to stand in the present and gaze into the future of the Rangers organization.

“It’s a really interesting spot to look actually into the excavation site and many of the things we’re working on,” explained Rob Matwick, executive vice president of business operations for the Rangers. “I remind people every time we come up here, take a good look, because it will never look this way again after we get to work this summer.”

Texas Live! will open later this summer with 100,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment.