Fans return to Target Field for first time since 2019 for Twins home opener

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Minnesota Twins fans returned to Target Field for the first time in a year and a half for Thursday’s home opener.

The Twins took on the Seattle Mariners with 10,000 fans in the stands, about a quarter of the stadium’s capacity. The Twins came away with a 10-2 victory.

Rod Sylvester of Fridley was the first person in line at 10 a.m.

"I took a day off of work and they said, ‘The game’s not until 3 p.m.’ I said, ‘Not for me!’ I’m just excited. I will be cheering, I will be loud and I hope we see four or five Twins home runs to get the crowd fired up," Sylvester said.

Target Field introduced new COVID-19 safety protocols to start the season. For the first time, the stadium is doing entirely digital ticketing and cash-free concessions to cut down on touchpoints between guests and staff.

Twins prep as fans are set to return to Target Field for first time since 2019

Proof of vaccination is not required for entry, although all fans must complete a verbal health screening at the gate.

"We’re excited to have baseball back and to be able to come watch it in person," said Andrew Peterson, who came to the game with his kids.

"I’m happy that we’re finally back! I was excited to come today. My mom even let me out of school," added 10-year-old Mitchell Stewig from Buffalo, Minnesota.

Seating within the stadium is marked off in pods of two or four, with 6 feet of distance on all sides.

"Excitement level is off the charts. Euphoric is really the way to say it. We’ve been waiting for this since October of 2019," Twins spokesperson Matt Hodson said. "To have our fans, the heart and soul of Twins baseball at Target Field, back here at home where they belong."

Masking is mandatory inside the ballpark unless a person is actively eating or drinking.

The COVID-19 capacity limits could change as the season continues, depending on what happens with the pandemic.

"We’re just looking forward to getting some normalcy back to life and we hope the Twins win," said Craig Gustafson, a Twins fan from Minnetonka.

Another fan, Dee Bruce, added, "I don’t think people even care if it’s a bad game. They’re just happy to be here."