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Why is “Sweet Caroline” the Boston Red Sox Theme Song?

Division Series - Cleveland Indians v Boston Red Sox - Game Three
Maddie Meyer-Getty Images

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 Boston Pastime, “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 Boston Globe 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 8th 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 Boston PastimeThe Boston Globe]

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