WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Fans received a warm welcome in more ways than one at the Sacramento River Cats' first game with full capacity availability Thursday.
Triple-digit temperatures were no match for fans flocking to Sutter Health Park. Home run hopefuls celebrated baseball being back at full capacity.
River Cats season ticket holder Wendy Sagen came prepared for the steaming curveball.
"I have a battery-operated fan, a damp towel to blow the cool air, got a cool towel on my neck and my head. I've learned over the years that I don't do heat well, but I have to do baseball," explained Sagen.
Some fans debated even coming to the came due to the heat.
"I did consider not doing because with being pregnant I could pass out, but I think once it cools down a bit it will be way better," said fan Mino.
River Cats General Manager Chip Maxon was happy to see people back despite the high heat.
"It feels great. We are finally back. It's been a long 20 months without baseball," explained Maxon. "The heat is slowing us down a little bit but our fans are really excited for this weekend."
Fans have a chance to catch a game all weekend from Thursday through Sunday. Friday, the first 2,500 fans will receive a replica championship ring. Fireworks will be set off Saturday night. All vaccinated fans are able to enjoy the game without a mask. Those who have not gotten the shot are asked to continue to wear face coverings.
"We had a ton of interest when we opened at limited capacity. I think we had six or seven COVID sellouts and now reopening at full capacity we have really seen a lot of interest. Groups are starting to come back and book for July and August," he said.
River Cats revilers prepared in advance to beat the heat.
"We took our towels and put them in the freezer overnight," explained Ann Hurst.
Sutter Health Park Emergency Medical Services stationed three teams throughout the park to monitor the crowd for heat-related concerns. EMS staff came prepared with wet rags and ice packs available for fans. Their main concern was heat exhaustion for those watching the game.
"The beer is flowing, keep an eye on one another, keep an eye on heat exhaustion or heat stroke," explained Steve Covey. "Everybody is on high alert tonight to make sure they are looking at people and monitoring people and looking for the signs of heat."
EMS crews did not have to treat anyone at Thursday night's game for heat concerns.
Despite a sweaty start to new capacity rules, fans are embracing every moment.
"As long as I have shade I'm good," said Michael Hurst.
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