A lot of Bostonians played hooky Monday. It was a packed crowd at Fenway Park for the season’s home opener against the Baltimore Orioles. Even after a lousy 2015, fans see a lot to be optimistic about this time around.

“Two dollars guys, anybody need one?" Joe Barron yelled to passers-by outside outside the park on Brookline Avenue, "All the names, numbers, stats and scorecard! How about a free high five? They cost nothing.”

Barron said he’s definitely hoping for a better season than last year’s last place finish (they sell more programs in good seasons). He said pitching is going to make the difference. On the mound for the home opener was the Sox brand new ace, David Price.

“David Price is the guy," Barron said. "We’re going all in with him. As long as the young guys keep swinging the bats and playing good defense, I think we’re going to have a positive season.”

It was a party atmosphere outside the ballpark on Yawkey Way. Some fans, like Joe Palladino traveled pretty far to get here.

 “All the way from Wyoming. 21 hundred miles," he said. "First opening day in my life at home. Feeling good. Price on the mound."

Clementine and John Roy were feeling pretty good, too.

“We’re really excited," John said. "It’s her first game this season, so go Sox!”

Inside the ballpark, one thing’s different from last season. Along the first and third base lines, a net is strung up to protect fans. Last year a fan was seriously injured by a broken bat.  Sitting behind the net, Pat Macher of Cambridge said she doesn’t mind the more obstructed view.

“It looks fine," Macher said. "I don’t see a problem with it at all. I don’t want to get hit in the head with a bat or a ball.”

Ken Gordon of Bedford doesn’t like the net.

“It’s just a different feel," he said. "Now there’s something that’s separating us from the field and this is Fenway Park, and one of the wonderful things about Fenway Park is how close we are to the field and how much of a part of the action that we really are, and we, in a sense participate in the action in a lot of ways. So it’s just a barrier between us.”

His friend Rick Parker points out the other huge story of this season. It’s the last one for Boston’s star designated hitter, David Ortiz, who’s perhaps better known by his nickname. 

“We’re hoping we’re going to see Big Papi finish out his career with a World Series win, right here at home.”

Now in his 14th season with the Red Sox, Ortiz is used to hearing huge cheers here at Fenway. But there was one surprise for him at his last home opener. His daughter, 15 year old Alex, sang the national anthem. Ortiz was visibly moved as his daughter sang. Alex says she’d told her dad she got out of school early just because she wanted to see the game.

 “He told me not to surprise him ever again," she laughed. "I was like, OK. I can do that.”

After the game, Ortiz told reporters he was more nervous as his daughter sang than in any at-bat of his career.

It wound up being a tough first outing in Fenway for pitcher David Price. He gave up five runs in five innings, including a three-run homer in the third.

Chief Patricia Hickey of Hanscom Air Force Base was among a group from the Air Force who joined fans in hanging a big red K in the outfield for each of Price’s eight strike outs.

“I’m sure he was a little nervous with it being an opening game," she said. "So I think with every game it will get better.”

Relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel wound up giving up a three-run homer in the ninth, as the Sox lost the home opener 9-7. But the season’s just getting started, and fans say the Red Sox have a lot of wins ahead of them.