The Hiroshima Carp opened up some parts of Mazda Stadium on Thursday, allowing some lucky fans the chance to watch the Central League club work out during their first practice in nearly a month and a half.

Fans were barred from preseason games in late February in Japan, and players have been largely practicing on their own since April due to the new coronavirus pandemic. But on Thursday, 125 groups of fans, selected by lottery, were reunited with their team.

"Pro baseball cannot exist without fans," first-year Carp manager Shinji Sasaoka said. "I think they really want to see baseball, so I hope we can give them courage."