COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Gone are the days of cardboard cutouts at Truist Park. For the first time in 18 months, fans will be welcomed back to watch the Braves home opener in person. But the fan experience will look much different because of COVID-19.
FOX 5 talked to fans at the Battery on Friday hours before the game.
"Man, we are super excited. We can't wait," said Andy Fox.
"As soon as tickets were available, we went online and bought them. We're ready to go," said Holden Hayes.
On Friday, Truist Park will welcome back around 13,000 fans.
"We are just so excited. We go to multiple games every year, so it was hard last year when we didn't get to go," said Lori Bengston, "We're very excited."
Fans like Bengston didn't get tickets for the home opener. Others, like Holden Hayes said they came from Memphis to attend this game.
"I've actually never been to a game at SunTrust Park. My last game was at Turner Field," said Hayes.
Fans started packing the Battery on Friday hours before the first pitch. Restaurants welcomed the boost in business.
"It is normal, just to be around other people and let the kids play with other kids. It's great," said Bengston.
Fans are prepared for a much different home opener experience. COVID-19 safety protocols will include masks, cashless and touchless payments, and social distancing.
"It's been a learning curve since COVID started anyways. Going to a live event like this, I think it's worth it just to be able to go see the game," said Hayes, "We'll do what we have to do for the Braves and for the fans."
"They said there's going to be a lot of social distancing and masks. We'll go with it because we'd just like to be there," said Fox.
Regardless, fans said it's a small price to pay to get to see baseball in person.
"I've got goosebumps. I'm excited. You can watch it on TV all you want, but there's nothing like being there in the action," said Hayes.
Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.