It's that time of year again—the snow has melted, the temperatures are rising, and Fenway park is open for the season. WGBH News' Craig LeMoult headed out the crowd to catch fans's excitement and anticipation ahead of the opener. 

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The Hot Tamale Brass Band pumps up the pre-game crowd.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

A stilt walker charms a young fan.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

Jim Vuona and Shawn Carey have made it to about 30 of the last 35 Red Sox opening days. 

"It's the rite of spring,” said Vuona. “Even though some days it’s really cold, spring is here, and you know it’s going to get better and better,” said Carey.

But this year, the weather cooperated. “I was having my doubts the other day, when the snow was coming down and I was shoveling slush out of my driveway,” said Vuona.  

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Jim Vuona and Shawn Carey at Opening Day.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

Red Sox fan Alicia Burns celebrates her 29th birthday today, and her 16th year going to the Red Sox home opener with her father, Kevin. 

“Opening day is a tradition in our family,” Kevin Burns said. And Alicia is positive as the season gets underway.

“They’re going to win,” she said. “Go all the way.”

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Alicia and Kevin Burns at Opening Day.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

That will be harder without veteran slugger David Ortiz, who retired at the end of the season, but Alicia remains optimistic.  “I think we can still do it,” she said.

Her father reflected on the loss of Big Papi. “It’s going to be a vacancy in leadership,” he said. “And also the humor and the presence. The guy was an icon … We’re going to miss the smile, most of all.”

Red Sox players line up at Fenway Park.
Red Sox players line up along the first base line prior to the team's first game at Fenway for the 2018 season.
Charles Krupa AP

The game began with a tribute to the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, with Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis and James White walking out on the field with their trophies, greeted with thunderous applause.

When he reached the mound, Brady took off his jersey—presumably the one that was stolen after the Super Bowl and recovered by the FBI—and held it up for the crowd. That prompted Gronkowski to grab the jersey out of Brady’s hands and take off with it. Brady managed to tackle him in the shallow outfield between first and second base.

Brady threw out the first pitch, which may have been good luck; the Red Sox started the season with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

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Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots are welcomed to the field with applause.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

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Tom Brady chases after Rob Gronkowski for his jersey.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

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Tom Brady throws the first pitch.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News