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why do the boston red sox play sweet caroline

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, Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far. : The Red Sox began playing Sweet Caroline in honor of a Red Sox employee who named her newborn daughter Caroline in 1998.

One of the coolest baseball musical traditions is the singing of the Neil Diamond hit Sweet Caroline during the 8th inning of Boston Red Sox games played at Fenway Park. WHY the song is played during the 8th inning of Boston Red Sox games played at Fenway Park is a whole other story. The song has nothing to do with Boston, so why the connection? The most common official explanation is that an unnamed Red Sox employee had the song played in honor of his newborn daughter, Caroline. That was the one offered up by Megan Kaiser, the game day music programmer at Fenway from 2004-2007. Honestly, that might very well be true. It would not surprise me at all to learn that a guy got them to play the song that day. However, there is playing the song one day and there is the song becoming special. And Amy Tobey, the woman who had Kaiser s job from 1998-2004, is pretty clear in the song s origin at Fenway, and I could see where you d want to invent a story, since the actual one is fairly mundane. You see, the song has long been popular at sporting events because of its infectious positive vibe (and its extreme sing-along-ability) and when Tobey began using it, that was her inspiration.

She saw it used at other games and she thought it would work well for the Red Sox, as well. She would play in some time in the later innings (7th or later) if the Red Sox were ahead. She told the Boston Globe, I actually considered it like a good luck charm. Even if they were just one run [ahead], I might still do it. It was just a feel. When new ownership took over, they had Tobey make the song a regular occurrence, because it was so popular with the fans. When Kaiser took over, she added the twist of cutting the volume on the song to allow the fans to sing parts of the song, a very popular Fenway tradition to this day. So while other teams seemed to like using it is perhaps not the most attractive of answers, it also appears to be the correct one. Thanks to the Boston Globe s Stephanie Vosk and Tobey for their side of the tale, and thanks to MLB s Alyson Footer and Kaiser for their information. Feel free (heck, I implore you! ) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is

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