By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — For the first time in about 18 months, the world champion Boys in Blue will play in front of their home fans at Dodger Stadium when they take the field Friday.

Dodger Stadium on April 9, 2021. (CBSLA)

The Los Angeles Dodgers will play their 2021 home opener against the Washington Nationals, the first of a three-game series that will last through the weekend.

There will be about 15,000 fans in the stands. This comes after earlier this week, L.A. County was upgraded to the orange tier of the state’s coronavirus reopening blueprint, which allows outdoor sporting events to have 33% capacity.

“We play for the fans, when it’s all said and done and you’re as old as I am and you look back, and there’s wins and championships and near misses, but it’s the family of fans that you develop that lingers and lasts forever,” Dodgers legend Steve Garvey told CBSLA Thursday.

Fans will notice some changes due to COVID-19 protocols. Food must be ordered from your seat, and the stadium is now completely cashless.

Fans will also get a chance to see the new improvements to Dodger Stadium itself, including the creation of a new Centerfield Plaza, elevators and bridges.

The two-acre plaza has new viewing areas, eateries, stores and kids areas.

“I really just want to seem them play live, I don’t want to see them play on TV, or short clips any more,” young fan Lennon Van Wagner said.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. A special ceremony will be held prior to the game with the Dodger players receiving their 2020 World Series rings and raising their championship banner.

“The club was in Arlington, Texas, when they clinched the World Series,” Dodgers broadcaster Rick Monday said Friday…”They have not been able to go out in public to have a celebration. The people in L.A. have not been able to celebrate. And today, finally, in the home opener, we can have a celebration.”

The stadium and auto gates will open at 10:30 a.m. Fans will be encouraged to be in their seats by 11:45 a.m. for pre-game ceremonies.

“They’ll be getting their rings at 11:45, we’ll be putting up the banner in center field,” Dodgers historian Mark Langill told CBSLA Friday morning. “Magic and a few people will be putting that banner up. Right above the Stadium Club is the 2020 pennant will be unveiled there. A great opening ceremonies for a great opening day.”

On Sunday, the team will honor the 40th anniversary of Fernandomania at 1:10 p.m.