The parking lots at Miller Park were packed hours before Milwaukee hosted Colorado. Fans broke out their grills and passed around beers on an unseasonably cold day.
Inside, former All-Star shortstop Walt Weiss prepared for his first game as a major league manager. A year ago, he was coaching his son’s high school team in Colorado; now, he’s running the Rockies.
“I slept all right,” he said. “I slept better than I thought I would. It’s an exciting day for everybody. Everybody that’s here today and involved, it’s a big day. It should feel a little different.”
And, after seven weeks of a spring training that sometimes seemed as if it lasted forever, it was also time to resume those big league routines.
The visitor’s clubhouse at Nationals Park was well-stocked for a full season of passing the time, with brand new, still shrink-wrapped games of cribbage, dominoes and chess-checkers on a shelf in a vacant locker.
Mike Dunn and Jon Rauch of the Miami Marlins bypassed the collection and instead settled around the table to play the card game Palace.
“Cards and cribbage,” Dunn said. “Cribbage has been big the last couple of years.”