SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Giants kicked off their home opener on Monday against the Colorado Rockies. Fans started lining up early to celebrate with surprises from the World Series champions, including a championship pennant that was gifted to every single fan in attendance.
The home opener is a special game for players and fans.
"You can't explain it," said fan Robert Srabian. "You feel it in your bones in your body and your heart."
Fellow fan Chris Archuleta added, "For us, we've been coming to Opening Day as long as we can remember."
It's a tradition for many. Fans say it's important to show their support as players make their way back to the ballpark for the first time since they played in last year's World Series. The 16th season is starting off with a celebration.
"Opening Day is always a big day," said SF Giants spokesperson Staci Slaughter. "In my house it's a holiday. It's really special to be back here to raise the third championship banner."
Crews worked countless hours behind the scenes to prep the field and put up signs.
"We probably have a record number pieces of bunting out," Slaughter said.
Fans came from all over the Bay Area and from across the state.
One man named Robert from Fresno is holding his family reunion at AT&T Park. He's been supporting the team since 1953.
"You can't watch it on television and get the same experience," he said. "The crowd just makes it better."
The energy is contagious. Some fans braved the morning chill to wait outside for autographs.
"When players come in hopefully we get fortunate to get their autographs and stuff," said a fan named Chris. "
While others are already stocking up on new Giants gear, the 2014 championships shirts are expected to go fast.
But above all else, fans say it will be emotional to not only see the 2014 championship banner being raised, but saying goodbye to a SF Giants icon.
"The downside is going to miss Lon Simmons from being here," said Robert.
The longtime Hall of Fame broadcaster was honored at Monday's game. The 91-year-old died just over a week ago following a long career for not only the Giants, but also the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco 49ers.
The team also honored Bridget Klecker during a moment of silence before the game. Klecker, a longtime Giants fan, was hit and killed during a police pursuit Friday night at California and Kearny streets in San Francisco. She was an innocent bystander as three suspected robbers tried to get away from police. Police are still looking for those suspects.
The Giants are glad to be home. A 6-4 loss to the San Diego Padres Sunday left the defending champs with a 3-4 record for the first week of the season. Wil Nieves hit a grand slam off Jake Peavy to pace the Padres.
The orange and black sent rookie Chris Heston to the mound, just the second rookie ever in Giants history to start an opening day. The Giants have won 11 of their last 13 home openers.
The daughters of Lon Simmons threw out today's ceremonial first pitch.
The game started at 1:35 p.m.
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