Red Sox fans are back at Fenway Park! Friday's game marked the first time fans were allowed back inside the beloved ballpark in 18 months.
“Just to be back to something normal made me so happy,” said Kim Swart from Stow.
Despite the team's 3-0 loss, fans say they were just happy to be back cheering in-person for their team.
There was optimism and relief that opening day means more than just a game.
“It was so fun,” said Lisa Ayles of Waltham. “It was great to feel like you’re normal again. The care that they took for all of us to keep us socially distanced, I was so happy to be a part of it.”
With capacity restrictions, only 4,500 fans were allowed inside.
“It was actually nice being in there with not a lot of people,” said Michelle Bartlett of Northborough. “It was really fun.”
Nobody seemed to mind the coronavirus protocols in place.
“A different vibe,” said Kara McKenna of Stow. “But everyone that was there had a lot of energy, everyone still did the wave.”
The only problem on game day, besides the score, was the weather.
“It was actually freezing,” said McKenna. “I still can’t feel my fingertips.”
The Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles took place Friday following a washout Thursday that temporarily dampened excitement over the return of fans to Fenway Park.
Tickets to Thursday's game were able to be used for the rescheduled contest on Friday.
One father and son duo drove in from New Jersey and extended their stay so they can attend the game.
"We got to stay another night," said fan and father Travis Gonick. "Wasn't planning on it, I was trying to get out of here after the game. Listen it's opening day, it's something I do with him every year so wanted to keep the tradition going."
"Having fans back, hearing that crowd, hearing people cheer -- that’s going to be fantastic," Red Sox executive Sara McKenna said earlier.
Businesses, too, were thrilled to have fans back at the park.
Dana Van Fleet, owner of Cask and Flagon, said opening day is a sign that things may be getting back to normal.
"It's great to see the city coming back to life, there's deliveries in the area," he said. "It's coming back, I'm excited."
The Red Sox welcomed over 100 health care heroes to the ballpark for Opening Day. Through a partnership with Dell Technologies, 10,000 tickets will distributed to health care workers throughout the 2021 season.
New Boston Mayor Kim Janey threw out Friday's first pitch.
Fenway’s capacity is capped at 12%. Seating will be in pods of two, four and six.
The team has partnerships with three companies to help maintain Fenway Park’s health and safety standards, including Lysol for disinfectant and cleaning supplies; Surfacide for UV-C technology UV technology that kills 99.99% of dangerous pathogens on hard surfaces; and Airocide for air purification that uses bioconversion technology developed by NASA to eliminate harmful, airborne particulates such as bacteria, mold and viruses.
Ticketing will take place online and through the MLB's Ballpark app. Plexiglass and hand sanitizers are in place. Concession stands will be open for cash purchases. But fans are encouraged to pay for beer and hot dogs electronically.
More than 30,000 seats in the ball park have been zip-tied shut to keep people out of them and away from each other. Bags are prohibited.