Flying High

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 days after the Super Bowl.

Johnny Pesky was in his spikes once again, walking onto the redone Fenway lawn to a scoreboard message that read: "Years since joining the Red Sox: 64." The Yankees, reflecting the class of their manager and uniform, stood atop the visiting dugout to watch all of this, as if they knew that someday they might regret telling their grandchildren about the Red Sox and having to conjure recollections of this day from a television clip.

They were all here to see a World Series banner tumble over, and conceal, the Green Monster. And to glimpse that ring with the inscription: "Greatest Comeback in History." "It's better than my wedding ring," mused Johnny Damon. "You can always get wedding rings." After the hype there was baseball to be played, and the Sox put together a full nine innings like they hadn't in this young season, producing a rewarding and resounding 8-1 beating of the Yankees in the 94th Fenway opener.

The game was decided by the performances of the most alluring character on each team, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez and the Red Sox' Tim Wakefield. Wakefield, the longest-tenured Sox player (April 26, 1995), worked seven clinical innings, conceding only five hits, two walks, and one unearned run. He allowed more than one base runner in only one inning, the fourth, when Rodriguez scored on an Edgar Renteria mental blunder and throwing error.

But the error of note belonged to Rodriguez, who said he was "overaggressive" in playing Damon's two-out grounder in the bottom of the fourth. The ball went through Rodriguez, making possible Trot Nixon's double and Manny Ramirez's single. Those consecutive hits bumped a 4-1 Sox lead to 7-1.

A-Rod also made the error Wednesday in New York with one out, the bases loaded, and the Yankees ahead, 3-2, in the ninth inning. Had he gloved that ball cleanly he probably would have begun a game-ending double play. Instead, the Sox scored five runs, four unearned, to win, 7-3. Rodriguez has been responsible for seven unearned Red Sox runs in the last two games between these teams.

Sox fans, ever appreciative, gave Rodriguez a near-standing ovation in the eighth when he made a routine play on a Doug Mirabelli ground out.

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'a Man Is Much More Than His Worst Mistake': Alabama Executes Man for Sword and Knife Slaying of Pas
ATMORE, Ala. — A man convicted of killing a country preacher during a 1991 robbery was put to death by lethal injection in Alabama on Thursday, weeks after he avoided another execution date amid disagreements between U.S. Supreme Court justices.Christopher Lee Price, 46, became the second inmate put to death in Alabama in two weeks . The execution was carried out at Holman prison, where he was pronounced dead at 7:31 p.m.Convicted in the killing of Bill Lynn, a north Alabama pastor slain by a sword and knife just days before Christmas, Price released a statement of apology through his attorney before the execution.“A man is much more than his worst mistake,” he said while strapped to a gurney moments before the drugs began flowing.Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement saying Price had to be punished.“Finally, the loved ones of Pastor Lynn can feel at ease knowing that justice has been administered. I pray that, after all these years later, his family can feel a sense of peace and comfort,” she said.Relatives of both Price and Lynn were among the witnesses as the inmate was put to death shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final request for a stay. The execution had been delayed by more than an hour while the state awaited the court’s decision, a prison official said.Price lifted and lowered his head twice after the initial knockout drug began flowing, and his belly heaved five times. He didn’t respond when an officer tested for consciousness by flicking his eyelashes and punching an arm.The colour soon began draining from his face as additional drugs flowed through an intravenous line, and the process was over within minutes.A statement from Lynn’s family thanked friends and relatives for their support during a “long and difficult journey.”“We are praying to finally have peace,” said the statement, read by a prison official.Price sought a stay based on a challenge to the state’s method of using three drugs during lethal injections. The nation’s high court, by a 5-4 vote, refused to halt the execution Thursday night. The conservative majority did not give a reason for denying the stay.Price had asked to instead die by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method Alabama has legally authorized but not developed. His lawyers argued the method, which kills by depleting the body of oxygen, would be less painful than lethal injection.Price was suing over Alabama’s execution practices, and the inmate’s attorneys contend the state rushed to execute him two weeks before the trial date. State attorneys argued that Price was bringing up previously decided issues at the last minute just to seek a delay.The inmate was set to be executed last month but the state death warrant expired at midnight before a divided U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay that blocked the lethal injection. The court subsequently released documents that showed its internal squabbling over the death penalty.The Alabama Supreme Court then set a new execution date even though U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose of Mobile had scheduled a trial set for June 10 to hear Price’s challenge to Alabama’s lethal injection process.In a dissent Thursday, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the court should have delayed the execution until the trial could take place.Court documents show Lynn, a Church of Christ minister in rural Fayette County, was at home with his wife Bessie assembling toys for grandchildren on Dec. 22, 1991 when the electricity failed. He went outside to check on the power box, and the woman looked outside after hearing a noise to see a man dressed in black holding a sword above her husband.The woman ran outside to find Lynn severely wounded, and she saw two men as she tried to start a van to flee. She was beaten and robbed of money and her wedding rings despite pleas that she be allowed to keep the jewelry, court documents show. According to an autopsy, Lynn was cut or stabbed more than 30 times.Price was arrested several days later in Chattanooga, Tenn. He admitted participating in the robbery but blamed the actual killing on another man.Kelvin Coleman pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison, while jurors convicted Price of capital murder and a judge sentenced him to death.Earlier this month, was put to death by lethal injection for his capital murder conviction in a quadruple killing near Birmingham. His lawyers didn’t cite any complaints with the process following the execution.Alabama executed one other inmate this year in February.
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'a Man Is Much More Than His Worst Mistake': Alabama Executes Man for Sword and Knife Slaying of Pas
Question About Wedding Rings How Does It Work?
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The History of Wedding Rings Dating Back 5,000 Years
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