After months off, the Target Field traditions resumed on Monday during the Twins' home opener against Kansas City.
If there are eagles and fast airplanes overhead during the national anthem and Minnesotans wearing anything between three layers and two articles of clothing, it must be baseball season.
Fans flocked to the new food and drink attractions, particularly Red Cow and Barrio down the left field line. (Those popular new spots, combined with a big crowd and huge boxes of giveaway sweatshirts near the light rail ballpark entrance, created quite the logjam of people at times.) Others simply walked the concourses or soaked up the sun.
It all felt so familiar, which is part of the charm of baseball.
Here are a few observations after spending the early part of Monday's game with the masses:
•If you've been away from live baseball since last season, there is a tendency to forget just how different the game looks in person — and how different the reactions are to the game itself.
Watching on TV for the first six games of 2015 magnified every miscue. In person, the artistry of the game takes center stage. And the miscues are softened (not that the Twins didn't try to dispel that feeling on Monday).
•Partly for a startribune.com video and partly for my own amusement/edification, I asked a bunch of fans what there was to look forward to with these 2015 Twins.
The answers varied. Some are looking forward to the eventual influx of young players. A pair of fans mentioned new manager Paul Molitor and the approach he will bring. Others mentioned trying the food. A few said they are just excited about being at the ballpark.
Nobody, of course, said outfield defense.
Even more telling: It was very hard to find any true optimism about the 25-man roster as currently assembled. That shouldn't be surprising after four consecutive 90-loss seasons and the brutal start to 2015, but it should still be alarming to the Twins.
• Torii Hunter had the best line of the day when, in his pregame news conference, he said of Kevin Garnett and his soon-to-come ceremonial first pitch: "I hope he don't choke. ... We all saw 50 Cent and what he did."
The rapper threw a first pitch so bad that Topps made a baseball card of it this year. But KG, lanky as he is, delivered a slow but effective toss to Hunter's glove.
•Final word: Fans on Twitter were having fun with some of the new images on the scoreboard. @wintwins tweeted: "The pictures of players on the scoreboard at #TargetField look like they're from a J.C. Penney catalog or something."