EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- It’s time for professional baseball in Evansville again, as the Otters opened their Frontier League campaign in front of a sellout crowd at Bosse Field Friday night.

But for some fans, the pregame is as much a part of the fun and tradition as the game itself. Michael Hunt and Rich Ricemas were among the crowd packed into the Hickory Pit Stop near Bosse Field before the game, calling the “spirit” great, adding that this is a tradition of theirs dating back to the days of the bygone Evansville Triplets.

While Hickory Pit Stop employees like Brandy Jones say the Otters regularly bring business during baseball season, Jones notes that they’re starting to see steady crowds even when the Otters are out of town or out of season. Jones credits the work done to revamp the Jacobsville neighborhood that surrounds Bosse Field, including the redone North Main Street, new businesses, and the Deaconess Aquatic Center.

Ricemas and Hunt agree that this is not the Jacobsville of old, saying the transformation of the neighborhood is “pretty crazy.” Other fans, like the Sweeney family, agree- saying they are looking forward to “making a day” of visiting the neighborhood in addition to taking in Otters game.

As for the Otters themselves? Expectations are high- with Hunt and Ricemas predicting a successful 60 win season.