For 40 years, a select group of Twins players would play out their careers on the field, then embark on a second career next to Dick Bremer in the broadcast booth.

Now that he's officially retired, Bremer has an idea, he said Thursday: "I'm going to try to do it in reverse."

At 68, Bremer has joined a senior baseball league, with weekly Wednesday games and Sunday doubleheaders. He might even try pitching, as he did in his role as host of numerous Twins fantasy camps over the years. "I'm going to try to rebuild some muscle memory and throw it over the plate," he said.

Bremer got some practice for the role before the Twins' first home game of the season, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, with newly elected Hall of Famer Joe Mauer doing the catching. It might or might not have been a strike, but that wasn't the important part to Bremer.

"I've been told by everybody — don't bounce it. Bert [Blyleven, his former partner] texted me this morning — 'Don't bounce it,'" Bremer said. "And the more they mention it, the more likely it is that that's going to happen, right?"

It was an emotional day for the longtime Twins broadcaster, who was joined by his entire family and roughly 75 residents, he said, of tiny Dumont, Minn., where he grew up a fan of baseball and the Twins. Before the on-field ceremony, the Twins held another one in the press box, naming the TV booth he worked in since Target Field opened the Dick Bremer TV Booth.

"He broke in pretty much all of us," Justin Morneau said of the former Twins players who have worked alongside Bremer, a lineup that includes five Hall of Famers: Harmon Killebrew, Jack Morris, Paul Molitor, Jim Kaat and Blyleven. "He taught us what it meant to love our job, to take pride in doing our job, to try to be neutral but understand we're all Twins fans. It's hard to put into words how much you meant to the Twins and their fans."

It was also hard for Bremer to put into words what he'll do with his free time in retirement. The occasional Twins game, he said, but after that?

"I've been told by people that it's possible in Minnesota to catch a walleye without having to drill a hole in the ice first," Bremer said. "I haven't had a chance to do much summertime fishing, but I'll be doing that."

In loving memory

The pregame ceremonies also paid tribute to Burnsville police officers Matthew Ruge and Paul Elmstrand and firefighter/paramedic Adam Finseth, the trio fatally shot on Feb. 18.

More than 400 of that trio's fellow first responders lined up along the baselines with the teams while the national anthem was performed by members of the Dakota Valley Symphony. The Burnsville color guard was on the field for the anthem, which finished with a flyover by a C130 Hercules from the Minnesota National Guard.

Thielbar closest

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli spoke to lefthanded reliever Caleb Thielbar on Thursday and "he is truly champing at the bit to get back. He's in a pretty good spot right now."

Thielbar, sidelined because of a sore hamstring through much of spring training, still needs to build up his arm strength, Baldelli said, "but I foresee him being the first one back, of all the guys" on the injured list.

That list also includes relievers Justin Topa and Jhoan Duran and third baseman Royce Lewis, each of whom took part in the pregame introductions.

Attendance down

The Twins drew 35,595 for their home opener, a 7.4% drop from last year's sellout of 38,465 for a victory over the Astros. In fact, aside from the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, Thursday's attendance was the second-smallest for a home opener in Target Field history. Only the 2022 crowd of 35,462 was smaller.