SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Baseball returned to the Bay Thursday night with a 3-1 win by the San Francisco Giants over the Oakland Athletics. But the score was incidental to all the fun being had at AT&T Park.
"I've been waiting for six months for the boys of summer to come back and now they're here!, " exulted usher Abhimanyu Das. "Fans in droves, we always set Major League records for attendance, we can't be nothing but happy!"
The annual exhibition games don't count, but gave both squads a chance to stretch out under the lights in front of 40,000 fans, four times as big as spring training crowds.
"The fans have been so great we want to plug whatever holes we might have," Giants President and CEO Larry Baer told KTVU.
Both teams return with rebuilt pitching rosters, although the Giants spent substantially more for theirs.
With World Series wins in 2010, 2012, and 2014, superstition suggests something might be special about 2016.
"When we're going into an odd year, I thought the even-year thing was a bunch of bunk," smiled Baer, " but now that we're in an even year, let's believe in even-year magic. Why not?"
For fans, magic seeps into every moment because a new season represents a fresh slate, in a game full of history.
"I'm getting too old to do this," vendor Bob Jacobs told KTVU, as he juggled blankets, sweatshirts, and caps for customers.
"It's been since 1963, and I ought to retire, but I just can't leave baseball!"
Before the game, players admitted they've been antsy to get out of Arizona and into a new season.
"It's exciting to be back, this feels more real," A's infielder Mark Canha told KTVU.
And despite the disparities between AT&T Park and the aging Overstock Coliseum, Canha said he wouldn't trade stadiums.
"It's too cold here, it's windy, the winds blowing, thirty mile an hour winds so no, we love our coliseum, it's our coliseum", he laughed.
A second game in the series will be played Friday at AT&T, and the final game Saturday is in Oakland.
The annual rite is more celebration than competition, but among some families, and relationships, there are friendly rivalries.
"My two brothers and my parents are A's fans," Gabbi Paschal of Vacaville told KTVU, sitting next to her brother Alex, he in green and she in orange.
"I don't know why I switched, I just went against what they did, and then I stuck with it."
Official opening day is Monday for teams across the nation.
The Athletics open at home against the White Sox.
The Giants are on the road against the Brewers Monday , and won't have their home opener until Thursday.