Opening day one of firsts for Tigers, fans

Tigers fans and players get ready for Opening Day of Baseball Season at Comerica Park (March 31, 2014).
Tigers fans and players get ready for Opening Day of Baseball Season at Comerica Park (March 31, 2014).

DETROIT (AP/WOOD) — Monday was a day of firsts for a lot of people at Comerica Park.

The Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 in the first game for both teams and the home opener for Detroit.

Tigers players warm up before opening day game (March 31, 2014).
(Tigers players warm up before their opening day game. March 31, 2014)

It was the first opening day game Tigers fan Aaron Cooke of Ionia has attended.

“Got some jitters,” Cooke said as he entered the park. “(I’ve) been to a lot of games, but this is a different feel. I’m excited.”

The bigger story: Monday was Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus’s first day of regular season play.

Aaron Cooke’s dad Al Cooke avoided the opening-day jitters. He liked what he saw from Ausmus and the Tigers during spring training.

“I’m excited. New year, new skipper, new look. Should be fun,” Al Cooke said. “Ausmus played for 18 years. Got (Omar) Vizquel on board here. Got some different mindset; youth. So I’m looking forward to it.”

It was the first day back in the Comerica booth for former Tigers outfielder and now TV color commentator Rod Allen.

“The baseball gods have allowed the sun to shine. It’s going to be a really nice day,” said Allen.

And it’s the first time in eight season the Tigers have a manager.

“Jim Leyland was a very good manager. The players respected him a lot,” Allen said. “I expect Brad (Ausmus) to be a player’s manager. I expect him to not force the issue. He’s a bright enough guy to know he’s inherited a pretty good tram. But I expect him to do well.”

Of course, just as in life, there are no guarantees in baseball. In life, success is built day-by-day. In baseball, it’s built game-by-game.

The key, especially on a sunny day in April at a major league ballpark, is to enjoy the moment.

Al Cooke had the right idea Tuesday:

“We’re going to be in the sun,” he said. “It’s just a whole new mindset.”

Photos: Opening day at Comerica Park

The ballclub kicked off its 15th season at Comerica Park and its 114th in Detroit. The Tigers are the three-time defending American League Central division champions and drew more than 3 million fans last year.

New at Comerica this year will be enhanced security measures, including the installation of walk-through metal detectors at all entry gates and access points. All fans will be screened as they enter the ballpark.

Detroit and Kansas City will play a three-game set before the Baltimore Orioles come to town for a three-game weekend series.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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