|During a 1997 game at Fenway, Amy Tobey, who was one of the employees in charge of music at the ballpark during that season, played “Sweet Caroline” because someone she knew had just had a baby named Caroline.
For the next five years or so, the song was only played on select occasions at Fenway Park.
When Charles Steinberg, an entertainment maestro, started working for the Red Sox as executive vice president/public affairs in 2002, he made sure the song became a nightly staple for the Fenway faithful.
“The Red Sox would play it once in a while,” Steinberg said. “They would play it from time to time. It wasn’t an anthem. In 2002, they were still doing that. I could hear that the fans were singing responsively.
“So I said to Danny Kischel, who was working the control room at the time, I said, ‘Are you going to play Sweet Caroline today?’ He said, ‘Oh no, we can’t play it. It’s not a Sweet Caroline day.’ I said, ‘What’s a Sweet Caroline day?’ He said we only play Sweet Caroline when the team is ahead and the crowd is festive and the atmosphere is already very upbeat.”
But that’s when Steinberg had his brainstorm.
“I said, ‘I think the song may have transformative powers and it may be able to lift the melancholy crowd and lift the spirits to being positive.’ We were talking about change in an organization that didn’t have any change,” said Steinberg. “I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Sometimes they were playing at the end of seven. Sometimes they were playing at the end of eight. Sometimes they were playing at the middle of the eighth. I wanted it to be the middle of the eighth, because you want your more festive songs to occur when the home team is coming up to bat. So we started playing it each day in 2002.”
And that tradition hasn’t stopped since.
|4/20/13 – Neil Diamond helps heal Boston as he leads Fenway Park in a rendition of his ‘Sweet Caroline’
11/10/2013 – Fever Pitch – ‘Sweet Caroline’
4/17/2013 – Yankees Pay Tribute to Boston ‘Sweet Caroline’