By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twins home opener is an event that typically packs downtown as fans celebrate the start of baseball. The game reflected what’s going on in Minneapolis and around the country.

This is the first sporting event in Minneapolis since COVID-19 restrictions started and now after the death of George Floyd.

The game drew small groups to Target Field, people who wanted to still feel a part of opening day.

“We’ve been going to the home opener together for about 25 years,” Jay Forrest, of Minneapolis, said.

“I couldn’t miss,” Jason Sanden, of Blaine, said.

Families and individuals gathered outside the ballpark rather than filling the seats, marking this moment in history.

“It’s been a tough year for everybody,” Ann Barrett, of St. Paul, said.

The Twins held a moment of silence to remember the lives lost during the offseason, including COVID-19 victims and George Floyd.

And the team honored Floyd’s memory by unveiling a tribute on the outfield wall.

“We really felt that it was our responsibility as an organization to take a moment to really make today both about the baseball but also reflection and respect for where we’re at right now,” Matt Hodson with the Twins said.

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People at Target Field Station watched as front line health care workers threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

“For the Twins to highlight it to where we’re all in this together I think it’s a key place, we can’t get through it without having one another and protecting one another,” Dan Strong, of Minneapolis, said.

The Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, filled the open stadium ahead of the Star-Spangled Banner.

A handful of Twins took a knee during the National Anthem.

Beyond the periphery of the ballpark, some chose to support local. Darby’s Pub & Grill put the game on an outdoor screen.

“Not having 40,000 fans is definitely a bit different, but we’re thankful for the fans we do have,” owner Marcus Dorn said.

The infamous Twins shrine is still there and fans are ready to celebrate this season.

“Twins are looking good,” Garrett Putney, of Minneapolis, said.

A number of buildings will be lit in Twins colors throughout the week: Lowry and I-35W bridges, IDS, Target Plaza and U.S. Bank Stadium.

Jennifer Mayerle

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