Brewers fans celebrate return to baseball at first full-capacity home opener in several years

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- No matter the wind Thursday, Brewers fans still packed the parking lots hours before first pitch to tailgate for the first time this season.

The wind had an impact, but the big story was the return to normalcy as a capacity crowd packed the home opener for the first time in several years. There was a palpable and sincere sense of relief and joy to finally be home again.

The persistent wind gusts wreaked havoc on ballcaps, paper plates, and even metal signs, but few people seemed to notice.

Tailgater Brandon Witt of Milwaukee said, "We've been here through the wind, the snow, the rain lots of years. Some years nice. This wind is new. This is a little more intense than normal."

The wind was intense, but so are Brewers fans.

They still celebrated the home opener as they usually do: with a lot of cold beer and hot grills. The energy in the crowd was befitting the first full-capacity home opener in several years.

The parking lots opened early because so many cars were trying to get in.

"You wouldn't think these bags are that light but the wind is definitely moving them," said Heather Jellison, a Brewers fan from Iowa.

Fan Teilma Marquez said, "I'm a die-hard Brewer fan and I can't wait to get in there."

Charlie Okray of Stevens Point said he and his friends come "Every year. Every year we come to Opening Day. Kin of our tradition."

Experienced fans bundled up against the cold with blankets and winter hats, and a full stock of supplies. In addition to brats and burgers, there was salmon, quail, venison, shrimp, carne asada, and lots of sausage.

Witt said of the home opener, "It's a different experience than any other Brewers game. Everyone's friends, everyone's waiting for the season to start, and just kind of hyped up."

And as first pitch approached, appropriately at 4:14 on 414 day, the party moved inside.

Juliann Bohne said, "We had plans to come in 2020, that got shut down. Last year 2021 no visitors. So we are happy to be back."

Justin Nowakowski of West Allis said, "I haven't been here since before COVID so just to be here is a good feeling. I missed it a lot."

Over and over fans shared how happy they were to be home.

Erika Nowakowski said it was "Amazing! I've been so thrilled to be back here. My husband and I come every year and missing the last two years was so sad because of the pandemic. So we are thrilled to be back."

James Anheuser said, "Opening Day is always a sign of spring, back to being out and about. And it's even more so like the spring coming out of COVID."

Thursday's win sent a lot of fans home happy, but many have lofty expectations and high standards for this season.

Last year's playoff loss to Atlanta left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths, and this year they want a deep October run to the World Series.


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