Boston Red Sox defeat New York Yankees, 8-1

ACTON -- At 2 p.m. yesterday, classes ceased for a group of anxious fifth- and sixth-graders, and a television was turned on.

It was the moment the children had been waiting for, Opening Day at Fenway Park. The Yankees and Red Sox players were on the field, standing just a stone's throw away from each other.

Inside the classroom, ground zero for the ''The Merriam School Handshake Project," little fingers were crossed. Silent prayers were sent.

Since last fall, the...

HEAVEN -- The sunny sky was light blue, legends of Red Sox past and present walked side by side, a sellout crowd of 33,702 booed the Yanks, rings of diamonds and rubies sparkled bright, the Red Sox won, and more than 85 years after Babe Ruth was ransomed to the Bronx, a World Series banner again was hoisted at Fenway Park yesterday. Maybe that isn't everyone's definition of the hereafter, but for fans of the Back Bay's baseball team, it's about as close as it's ever going ...

It seemed, in so many ways, to be business as usual for the Yankees -- playing the Red Sox on an Opening Day.

Only it was different. Yesterday was the Red Sox' home opener and the Yankees sat in the visiting dugout on a 46-degree afternoon and watched World Series rings handed out to someone else, watched a new World Series flag flapping at Fenway for the first time since 1918 and, almost comically, heard what sounded like genuine cheers to star relief pitcher Mariano R...

All this day lacked was Neil Diamond himself, singing and yielding to the fans, except that the 33,702 at Fenway Park didn't need anyone to tell them that "good times never seemed so good."

Bill Russell, who hadn't set foot in the old yard in four decades, walked out of the Green Monster like a cinematic Shoeless Joe out of an Iowa cornfield. He was joined in similar fashion by Bobby Orr, Richard Seymour, and Tedy Bruschi, the latter of whom had suffered a stroke 10 day...