There was a lot to cheer about for Boston Red Sox fans Friday night, but they weren't cheering from inside Fenway Park.
While Major League Baseball in 2020 looks and feels different, there was still plenty of excitement as the Red Sox rolled past the Baltimore Orioles 13-2 on Friday night in Boston's first taste of regular-season baseball during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's just so great to have baseball back," said Sam Kennedy, Red Sox president and CEO.
Red Sox Home Opener Coverage
Usually fans would have lined up first thing in the morning for the start of the season, and the area around Boston's fabled park would undoubtedly be packed. But not this year.
Barbara Savage, who has been coming to Opening Day for 30 years, says she did what she could to make it feel somewhat normal.
Restaurants had tables set up so people could be right outside Fenway Park, but Lansdowne Street was as close as fans could get. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had warned people not to crowd the area during the game.
"It's weird not being able to go in, but this is as close as we can get this year so we'll take what we can," one fan said.
"Everything is different," another fan said. "Just happy to have baseball back."
Even without fans inside Bostons' fabled park, it was still plenty noisy inside the ballpark.
Crowd noise was pumped in to mimic the feel, and while there were no fans in the stands, there were cardboard cutouts in the Green Monster seats.
Things looked different on the grounds, too, with extra dugout seating and a new bullpen so players can spread out.
Prior to the game, there were continued nods to the nation's social justice movement. Players on both teams wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts and a Major League Baseball-issued Black Lives Matter sign was spread across the center field bleachers.
The opening ceremony 30 minutes before the game also featured a giant American flag draped over the Green Monster and the national anthem sung by Springfield native Michelle Brooks-Thompson.
After a flip flop from the Red Sox earlier in the day, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker did throw out the first pitch, along with Mayor Walsh and Robert Lewis Jr.
In an exclusive interview with NBC10 Boston, Gov. Baker said what we all know: the path back won't be easy but having some semblance of normal sure helps.
"To have baseball back in Boston, which is sort of a staple of summer life here for ever and ever, is a great thing," Baker said.
Friday night's opener against Baltimore marked the first time in 10 years the Sox opened at home at night.