“Why do they play Neil Diamond’s song, Sweet Caroline at the Boston Red Sox games?” Baseball fans on staff at the Newton Falls Public Library said they had wondered about the story behind that custom as well.
Searching online, we found that it is a frequently asked question with several versions of the reason the song is played before the bottom of the 8th inning. The website, Boston’s Pastime was very useful with details of the legend and the reality. “Legend has it that former Red Sox public address announcer Ed Brickley requested the song to be played as a tribute to the appropriately named newborn daughter of Billy Fitzpatrick, who worked in the Fenway Park control room for 20 years. In reality, the song got its start at Fenway Park thanks to Amy Tobey, who was the ballpark’s music director from 1998 to 2004. She was responsible for choosing the music . . . At first, Tobey played the song at random games sometime between the seventh and ninth innings, and only if the Red Sox were ahead. Tobey considered the song a good luck charm and it soon became something the fans anticipated. But it wasn’t until 2002, when John Henry’s group bought the Red Sox, that Sweet Caroline became an official Fenway tradition. That’s when the new ownership requested that Tobey play the song during the eighth inning of every game.”
Columbia University’s News Serviceonline article, feels that too many teams are now using this song. The Bleacher Report has the article, Boston Red Sox: 5 Songs Ready to Replace “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park by Robert Fucile (Correspondent, May 15, 2012). Fucile feels that it is now time for the Red Sox to select a new song and offers five alternatives. They are Rock and Roll Band by Boston, Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, Back in the Saddle by Aerosmith, I’m Shipping Up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys, and Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses.