DETROIT -- Despite Justin Verlander making his seventh consecutive Opening Day start, the 2014 season has a new feel for the Tigers. They have a rookie manager, a revamped infield and a completely new tail end of the bullpen.
But Tigers fans who crowded the parking lots surrounding Comerica Park on Monday morning felt something else new, too. Something a bit more tangible -- the sun.
After one of the coldest winters on record, there is perhaps no more welcomed sight in Detroit than the blue skies and mid-50-degree temperatures forecasted for the season opener. Not even newly acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler could bring as much joy to Tigers fans.
"It's unbelievable how lucky we are that the weather breaks on a day like today, Opening Day," said first-time Opening Day attendee Joe Rinna.
Another fan, Georgina Schajter, who estimated she has been to about six Opening Days, could feel an increased energy on Monday. She chalked up the environment to a combination of the beautiful day and new manager Brad Ausmus.
With the weather cooperating, there was only one thing that could make the start to the season any more promising.
"All we need to do now is win the game," Schajter said.
And the Tigers obliged with a 4-3 walk-off victory as Alex Gonzalez drove in the winning run with a single.