MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Play ball. Baseball is back at Target Field. Minnesota Twins fans poured into the ballpark early Monday afternoon for the team’s home opener against the Kansas City Royals.

Despite the team’s 1-5 start, a sellout crowd packed downtown Minneapolis as so many fans feel like the Twins home opener is the unofficial start of summer.

While some die-hard fans lined up hours early, some of the Twins’ youngest fans also made a day of it.

“Couldn’t miss Opening Day. Gorgeous, perfect weather,” Gary Tschetter, who also brought his 8-month-old son, said. “I was in high school when I saw my first Twins game so I thought I’d have him experience it right away.”

“It’s a big day, Twins opening day. How much bigger do you get,” Leslie Madison said.

Many grateful kids lined up in the stands during batting practice, some of them hoping for a chance to get up close and personal with their favorite players. They’re young fans making memories that’ll last for years.

For a Twins fan on Opening Day, the success of the day is often measured not just by the outcome of the game but by the weather.

Gallery: Twins Home Opener 2015

“You couldn’t have asked for a better day even with the wind it doesn’t matter because there’s now snow,” Robin Kritzeck said.

One thing that never disappoints super fan Brian Gillespie: The freebies. The first 40,000 fans at Monday’s sold out game got a free Twins zip-up sweatshirt.

“We wanted to make sure we got the right size for sweatshirts today,” Gillespie said. “We come down for every home opener and we try to be first in line for bobble heads and everything.”

Fans waited for hours in anticipation of more than just the game. There is plenty of excitement for the new foods at Target Field, including the Bloody Mary that comes with a slice of pizza.

As the game started, so did many reasons to celebrate this summer. The Twins had an announced crowd of 40,123. It marks the largest Opening Day crowd since 2011.

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