Born out of the minds of Red Sox management and Fenway Park’s former music director, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” quickly became a daily tradition for Red Sox fans in the eighth inning. A decade after its addition to the park playlist, it’s as wildly popular as ever.
The song first blared through the Fenway PA system in the late ’90s when former Fenway Park music director Amy Tobey noticed it on other stadium playlists, and decided to implement it for the Fenway faithful.
She originally played it somewhere in the late innings only when the Red Sox were winning, and at one point almost got superstitious about it.
”I actually considered it like a good luck charm,” Tobey told Boston.com in 2005. ”Even if they were just one run [ahead], I might still do it. It was just a feel.”
Eventually John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino decided to add the song as a permanent 8th-inning song in 2002, and the tradition quickly took off.
Even today, Red Sox fans still love to hear the song come on, even if the Sox were losing, just to spread positivity throughout the stadium. The cheer has even spread overseas.
@Mix1041 love it!!! I even have my UK friends singing the Red Sox chants in it!—
Lori (@lorismile1) April 19, 2012
The sentiment is not completely positive, however. Some Red Sox fans have grown tired of the song, especially in recent years as the Sox have struggled to make the playoffs and, most recently, stay above .500.
Tianna Carr (@TCarr315) April 19, 2012
It’s ultimately the team, and not the music, that keeps bringing fans back to Fenway Park. But having daily traditions for the fans to participate in together does more good than harm to the ballpark experience. “Sweet Caroline” may have no real Boston or baseball ties, but its hooks and upbeat feel make it hard to resist joining in as it gets to the chorus.
The Sox have even had Neil Diamond himself at the stadium to perform the song live! Watch the performance from April 2010 in the video below.