Officials began a news conference to kick off Orioles opening day with a moment of silence for the six men who died in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, a solemn undertone that permeated what is historically an exuberant affair for city and state leadership.

The region and nation were stunned when a cargo ship crashed into the bridge, causing it to crumple into the water. Officials, players and fans alike hope baseball serves as a respite from tragedy. On opening day, politicians and stadium officials chose to highlight rescue efforts and Baltimore’s resilience, as Maryland flags at half-mast dotted the stadium.

“Baltimore is being tested right now,” Gov. Wes Moore said at a pregame news conference. “But Baltimore’s been tested before.”

It’s a monumental season in several ways. David Rubenstein, a Baltimore native and billionaire, and his partners have a controlling stake of the team as of Wednesday. Before the sale went through, the Orioles and the state government went back and forth for months during negotiations for a new Camden Yards lease. Now, some fans feel the Key Bridge tragedy is imbuing the season with even more meaning.

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The three Maryland Transportation Authority officers who saved lives by closing the bridge to traffic after the ship’s crew sounded a mayday call were honored on the baseball diamond to thunderous applause in the middle of the third inning, next to Gov. Moore and Mayor Brandon Scott. “When duty called, they answered,” the governor said.

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“We were proud to carry out our duties as officers of this state to save the lives that we could, and we are grateful for the incredible amount of support from this community that we love so much,” Sgt. Paul Pastorek, Cpl. Jeremy Herbert and Officer Garry Kirts said in a joint statement.

As Scott did interviews with local media outside Camden Yards, residents asked for photos and fist bumps with the Democrat. “Thank you for your leadership these past few days,” a man cradling a newborn wearing orange headphones told Scott after snapping a photo.

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Scott offered spots in his Camden Yards box to the city fire department divers who braved the wreckage to search for the bodies of those who fell into the water when the bridge collapsed.

Nothing brings together Baltimore like the Orioles and Ravens, Scott said, adding that the entire dive team will have the box on Easter Sunday. On Monday, fire department members will be invited to the box.

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“Sports has always been a place where everyone comes together,” Scott said. It’s a way to “remember and honor what happened and those that we lost, but also to inspire all of us to stay committed to rebuild.”

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A spokesman for former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is running against Scott in the Democratic primary, said she spent the day talking with voters. Attorney Thiru Vignarajah, who is also running in the mayoral primary, mingled with fans outside the stadium.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan is running in the Republican primary for a seat in the U.S. Senate. On opening day, he mingled with the public in perhaps the most visible way since leaving Annapolis.

Ex-Gov. Larry Hogan poses for a photo with Orioles fans. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

Before entering the ballpark, Hogan went to the Gameday Firehouse — a firefighters union hall that moonlights as a bar open to everyone on game days. He stopped by Pickles Pub, around the time that the new Orioles owners bought a round for everyone inside the bar gates. He chatted with fans at the Flag Court Bar near right field and eventually settled in bleacher seats.

A spokesman said Rep. David Trone, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat as a Democrat, was also at the game. Trone did not broadcast where he was sitting. A spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who is also running for the seat as a Democrat, did not immediately return a request for comment.