SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Baseball fans in Springfield Thursday afternoon gathered at Hammons Field to watch Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals. 

“I’ve been waiting for a long time and I’m excited for the baseball season,” Ryan Hefferd said.  

“We just wanted to experience opening day outside in the ballpark setting and didn’t have the time to get up to St Louis,” Mike English said.  

KOLR10 talked to fans about what they love at the ballpark.

“I like eating the peanuts and watching the game,” Ryan Hefferd said.  

“I like the game and the popcorn,” Kyla Hefferd said.  

“Probably the excitement, the crowds and getting to spend time with someone,” Eileen Kelly said.  

“I got to go with concessions, but I do miss the Clydesdales,” English said.  

KOLR10 caught up with Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, who says the event is a combined effort between the city and the Double-A affiliate Springfield Cardinals. 

The City of Springfield announced this week that its deal to purchase Hammons Field was successful. 

“It signifies really, I think, a transition [by purchasing] the ballpark, the parking lot, extend the lease with the Cardinals,” McClure said. “I think today’s event is just the first event, hopefully of a very good relationship for a long time to come, so we’re celebrating.”

McClure says he has enjoyed seeing a familiar face debut for the Major League Cardinals Thursday afternoon.

“It’s so interesting to see who comes through here, and we’ll be interested to see who’s on the Springfield Cardinals roster when that’s announced next week,” McClure said. “We’re watching Jordan Walker today, who played all year here in Springfield last year, and now he’s starting in right field for St. Louis.” 

KOLR10 asked fans what their expectations are and what players they’re watching this season.

“I want to see how Wainwright does. I really expected him to retire, but I want to see what he’s got left,” English said. “I think the Cardinals can be a contender, but I don’t think they’re going to run away with it.”