Jim and Cyndi Thompson arrived at Raley Field early Friday evening, settling into seats just to the third-base side of home plate. It would be an hour before the River Cats began their first home game of the season.
"I remember when the Sacramento Solons had their Opening Day, you could get a day off school," said Jim, 66, of West Sacramento. He did so "a couple times," he said, adding that as far as he remembered, those reprieves were school-approved.
Cyndi, 61, recalled no such rule growing up in the Bay Area. There, she said, the beginning of the baseball season meant hearing Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons again, as they called games for the Giants.
"We just listened to (Opening Day) on the radio," she said. "It was just really exciting for the family to listen to the game.
"I think some of that sticks with you forever."
The Thompsons were among the announced crowd of 6,189 who turned out on a chilly and occasionally rainy night to watch the River Cats lose to the Reno Aces 2-0 in their home opener. The River Cats played an eight-game road trip to begin the season.
Before the game, River Cats manager Darren Bush said that he, as usual, had butterflies. General manager Jeff Savage said a "buzz" had permeated the front office leading up to Friday.
"It's a nervous energy that kind of builds," Savage said. "That last week, it really starts getting busy when all the phone calls are coming in, and you're really getting ready for everything."
Right fielder Michael Taylor, who has spent parts of the last two seasons in Sacramento, said he would keep an eye on the new members of the River Cats roster who were making debuts in their new home park.
"You kind of remember that first feeling for yourself," Taylor said. "And then you kind of help navigate those guys through their first games here at Raley Field."
Starting pitcher Brad Peacock was one of those guys. But Peacock acquitted himself well, allowing just one hit and an unearned run in six innings while striking out eight Reno hitters. He departed with the River Cats trailing 1-0, however.
Two of the other new faces, catcher Derek Norris and infielder Brandon Hicks, signed autographs for fans before the game. That gave Ricardo Canchola, 56, of Sacramento, an opportunity to pass along a message, he said.
"Just wished them luck and told them the same thing I tell the other guys hope to see you in the big leagues," Canchola said.
Canchola said he has been attending games since 2002, but that the home opener even one that comes nine games into the season has not lost its luster.
"Not for me, no," Canchola said. "Every year's a new year. You don't know what's going to happen."
That same thing might be said for Wes Timmons, who, in starting at second base for the River Cats on Friday, played in his 1,005th career minor league game.
Timmons spent most of the spring with the A's as a nonroster invitee to spring training, and accompanied them to Japan for their season-opening trip.
But the A's are set around the infield right now, meaning the 33-year-old Timmons is back in Triple-A, still awaiting his first appearance in a major league game.
"The reality of it is I signed a contract to play here," said Timmons, who established himself last season as a River Cats fan favorite. "If something were to go wrong, if they were to run into a rash of injuries, maybe it would've been my turn. But I knew the deal going in, and I'm just happy to be back.
"You just kind of sit back, and you play here, and you be ready if the time comes," he said. "And if not, you know, you try to beat up on the teams down here."