Reporting Alison Lorge
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It wasn’t just the sun that had people smiling in downtown Minneapolis Friday afternoon — baseball was back in Twins territory.
The fans poured in early to Target Field celebrate the renewal of America’s favorite pastime at the Minnesota Twins’ home opener.
The Anderson family arrived early to take in the people watching. They were all wearing helmets with fish attached to the top, a throwback to the 2006 season of the ‘piranhas.’
“We’ve been to many home openers,” said a younger member of the Anderson clan. “It’s a tradition.”
The game started at 3:10 p.m., but players made their way to the field at noon for batting practice. Crowds lined the stands around the bullpen, yelling out the names of their favorite players and hoping to get a wave back.
“Welcome back!’ shouted one fan as first baseman, Justin Morneau, walked off the grass.
Morneau has been working his way back from a concussion that kept him out for the final three months of last season, so his supporters were glad to see him at bat.
And the fans aren’t the only ones with Twins fever, sports bars are welcoming the crowds too. Ryan Nelson, a manager at the second and newer Huberts location on First Avenue, said the opener is one of the busiest days of the year.
“We feel fortunate for a great location right here at the field,” said Nelson.
He said Huberts, located just 918 feet from home-plate, will start to be part of tours given at the ballpark.
“For years the name (Huberts) has been synonymous with the Twins,” said Nelson. “We really get the sense that we are part of the team.”
Judging by the crowds and full parking ramps at the two-year-old ballpark, many other Minnesotans feel the same way.