MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Pelicans ballpark was packed for Tuesday night’s home opener against the Augusta GreenJackets, the first of 66 home games on the summer schedule for the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

“This is America’s pastime, baseball,” longtime Pelicans fan Doug Kelly said.

America’s pastime is back to normal after COVID-19 limited capacity at last year’s home opener and caused the previous season to be canceled entirely.

“I’m just excited it’s back, especially coming out of the pandemic when things just didn’t really happen for a couple years,” he said. “It’s like we’re opening back up, and I’m just glad to be here.”

For Kelly and other fans, this wasn’t the first home opener they’ve attended.

“This is my 23rd home opener,” longtime fan Adam Craig said. “Actually, the inaugural season was ’99, and I’ve been to every one since.”

Fans said there’s something for everybody at a Pelicans game, including food, fireworks and, of course, the game itself.

“To be out in the crowd and just the excitement, I even get excited when I come to the box office early in the week to get my tickets,” Craig said.

Kelly agreed.

“It’s a great distraction,” he said. “It’s a great thing for Myrtle Beach, and always has been, and I love the Pelicans.”

Employees said they’re looking forward to the rest of the season, too.

“Last year being my first year,” Sam Weiderhaft, who is a broadcaster and handles the team’s media relations, said. “It was an incredible summer, and it was great to have fans back last year after the season was canceled in 2020. So I’m just excited to see the fans again, excited to see the players get on the field.”

The Pelicans continue their six-game season-opening series against the GreenJackets on Wednesday. For a full schedule, you can go to the team’s website.