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why do they sing sweet caroline at boston baseball games

Why is Sweet Caroline the Boston Red Sox Theme Song? by April 22, 2013 11:24 AM
Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, I was at a Binghamton Senators game and the song Sweet Caroline was played in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. A couple days later, a friend who lives in Boston told me that she was at a game at Fenway when Neil Diamond himself showed up unannounced and asked permission to sing Sweet Caroline to the Red Sox fans at the game. Just another reason why I have an old enough to be my father, but I don t care crush on Neil. But that s beside the point. If you re not a Red Sox fan, you probably have no clue why Sweet Caroline has special meaning to the people of Boston. I know that I didn t, so decided to search for the answer. According to, Sweet Caroline is played at every Red Sox game before the bottom of the 8th inning. There s a pretty impressive myth that the song was requested by former Red Sox announcer, Ed Brickley as a tribute to the newborn daughter of Billy Fitzpatrick, a 20-year employee of Fenway Park.

While sweet, that s not the way the story goes. In reality, Sweet Caroline became the unofficial song of the Boston Red Sox because a woman named Amy Toby liked the song, played it during a game, and it stuck. Toby was put in charge of picking out music to be played at Fenway from 1998 to 2004. She liked the song Sweet Caroline, and played it. But it didn t become synonymous with Fenway right off the bat. The says that when the song was first played at the park, it was only played during random games, between the middle;e of the 7th and 9th innings and it was only played if the Red Sox were ahead in the game. Toby saw the song as a good luck charm and, in 2002, Sweet Caroline became an official Fenway tradition. To this day, the song is played before the bottom of the 8 inning at each home game. If you haven t seen the video of Neil Diamond performing Sweet Caroline at Fenway, this is a must see. [via, Why Sweet Caroline? Those new to may reasonably ask, why Sweet Caroline? Even true Bostonians may wonder, why the 1969 mid-tempo Neil Diamond song?

Well, let it be known that anthems aren t always chosen. Sometimes, they just happen, and Fenway Park s sing-along anthem did just that. It happened. In 1997, an employee at Fenway Park, Amy Tobey, who was in charge of music at the ballpark, decided to play the song Sweet Caroline. Why? Because she knew someone who just had a baby named Caroline. While the crowd enjoyed it that day, it didn t instantly become an anthem. For the next few years, the ballpark only played the songs on random occasions. Then, in 2002, began working at the Red Sox as a vice president of public affairs. He saw how much the crowd loved the song; therefore, he insisted that it play nightly. He loved the song s positivity, and he thought it would be uplifting to the crowd, and the team, every game. The eighth inning was chosen because it was right before the Red Sox would come up to bat for the last inning. The song began to take off as a tradition. Once Sweet Caroline started playing on a nightly basis, it began to take off.

The crowd knew what to expect, and the festive song would brighten up spectators near the end of every baseball game. The song, however, gained more meaning soon after that. Later, in 2002, Caroline Kennedy attended a Red Sox game, and if the song was about her. She didn t think so. However, five years later, Neil Diamond stated that his inspiration for the song was, indeed, a picture of her as a little girl next to her horse in the 1960s, shortly after her father, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated. At that point, the song became more significant, as a tribute to him, and then more important to the ballpark through a string of innocuous events. It turns out that JFK s grandfather threw a pitch before the first official baseball game at Fenway Park in April 1912, when the ballpark first opened. The Kennedy family was also from the Boston area Brookline, Massachusetts and here was a song inspired by JFK s daughter being played at the same ballpark nightly. All the pieces fit together, and a meaningful tradition was born.

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