The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed more than 50,000 fans for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, marking the largest crowd to see an American professional sports team event since last year’s pandemic.

The National League club called the contest a “reopening day,” selling 52,078 tickets at Dodger Stadium as hungry baseball fans reveled in Los Angeles’ 5-3 victory.

General view of the crowd as Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias throws against the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2021 in Los Angeles.Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports via Reuters

The club battle for the playoffs came hours after California lifted a wide range of mandates put in place last year to fight the pandemic, which had killed more than 62,000 California residents on Tuesday.

There are no more state rules on social distancing, and no more capacity limits in restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums or elsewhere. Masks are no longer required for Californians vaccinated in most settings.

Dodgers star Mookie Betts, used to sold out houses during an eight-year career with the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, hit a home run in the seventh inning.

“At first I drenched him as much as I could. After that, I sorted it out and took care of business. I’m used to playing in front of big crowds, ”Betts said.

LA manager Dave Roberts said the Betts explosion “looked” like no other home run so far this season.

“It was a jerk,” Roberts said. “For them (the fans) to come in here and hope your superstar player plays (with a) home run, that was a big jerk. The dugout felt it, the fans felt it.”

The Dodgers won the 2020 World Series, after a truncated MLB season of just 60 regular-season games, a fraction of a normal 162-game campaign.

The Dodgers wore uniforms with gold trims on Tuesday to celebrate the 2020 title and held pre-game ceremonies similar to traditional opening day festivities.

The pandemic crippled the sports world in March 2020 with the cancellation of baseball spring training and the college basketball “March Madness”.

Once top-level sports were allowed to return months later, audiences were limited to create social distancing between spectators.

For example, the Super Bowl – traditionally the most expensive and difficult to score ticket in all sports – was played in front of a paid crowd of just 24,835 on February 7. The NFL title game was played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which has a capacity of over 65,000 fans.

Other huge crowds to watch major sporting events, across the world, since the start of the pandemic include:

The Associated Press contributed.