With all the focus on my beloved Boston the past 10 days, and a huge boost to spirits with a surprise visit last week from Neil Diamond himself, singing at Fenway, middle of the 8th, I had to figure out, where, how, WHY did Sweet Caroline become part of the Red Sox legend and lore?
Turns out, it wasn’t so long ago. A woman named Amy Tobey decided ballpark music from 1998 to 2004. Knowing Sweet Caroline was played at other sporting events, she added it to the rotation, and over time it became a bit superstitious. If the team was ahead, it would be played somewhere between the 7th and 9th innings, IF Amy thought the team was going to win.
When John Henry and co took over the team in 2002, they made it official, to be played middle of the 8th, every home game.
Think what you will of the song and of Sox leadership, but did you know, Henry grew up a Cardinals fan, and put the Sox deal together after selling the Marlins? He and Werner, Harrington and Lucchino’s express goal was breaking the curse of the bambino.
Just 2 years later, that amazing 2004 World Series had the Sox beating who- the Cardinals, his childhood team – to bring home our first World Series in 86 years. Last year, of course, marked 100 years for Fenway, and for the past 15 Sweet Caroline has been part of the amazing franchise so many of us love so dearly.
BTW, sales of Sweet Caroline (which came out in 1969 and was written about Caroline Kennedy) are up nearly 600% since the bombing. Seriously. Sweet Neil is giving proceeds from sales to bombing victims.
However you feel about the song, me thinks its not going anywhere, especially not after the past week! And I think that’s SO GOOD, SO GOOD SO GOOD!