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Baseball fans eager to attend first game at Fifth Third Field following a canceled season

It's been 584 days since fans have been invited to the stadium because of COVID.

TOLEDO, Ohio — It was a big day for Toledo and baseball fans from all around. 

Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens, hosted its first in-person game today since canceling last year's season. 

On Thursday, baseball fans were in attendance from near and far. 

"[We're from] Toledo, we're about ten, fifteen minutes away," said Alfonso Valle, a father attending the game with his family.

"We drove down from Royal Oak, Michigan for the game," added Garrett McManaway, who traveled down to watch the game with his daughters. 

All joined at Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo to enjoy the very first in-person game since 2019. 

To be exact, it's been 584 days since the Toledo Mud Hens invited fans to the stadium because of COVID. 

"Feels really good to be out here, be able to doing regular things. Staying safe though, just know we're all still fighting this, but we're finally gonna get back safely," said Francisco Valle who was there with his family.  

Thursday's game was an extended spring training game between the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. 

"[The kids] are actually on spring break this week and we saw that the Tigers are playing Cubs and we thought, 'well, that's a great activity for us to go out and do.' So we're pretty happy baseball is back and in person," said McManaway. 

The stadium limited its capacity and asked fans to sit in their assigned seats and social distance.

"Really good job of keeping everybody six feet apart. You see a lot of people with their mask on even though we're outside," said Able Ramos, a grandfather out with his family. 

"It feels really good. I mean, it's just a fun experience to be out in this stadium. You know, not a lot of people, but still the feeling was there and it was awesome," said Lori Downie, who is from Maumee and was watching the game with her husband. 

And after no season last year, they're looking forward to all of the upcoming games. 

"We needed this big time. Big sign of relief," said Able Ramos. 

"Hopefully we are putting the virus behind us soon and it'll be a little more easier for us to go out to the ball games," added McMananway. 

Despite the rain ending the game shortly, fans were happy baseball is back. 

And they're expecting this is just the beginning of what this summer holds. 

Opening day for the Toledo Mud Hens is on May 4th.