There are certain traditions in life you don’t question. Since 1997 fans at America’s most beloved ballpark have busted into a 1969 pop hit? Well, gather round friends because here is the story behind why we sing Sweet Caroline at Fenway Park.

We don’t question traditions like; why does a person get down on one knee to propose marriage to another? Or, why do we rely on a groundhog to predict the future weather? How did tailgating start? We just do it. No questions asked. But, have you ever wondered why we all break out into singing Neil Diamond’s iconic Sweet Caroline at Fenway park?

It’s a bottom of the 8th tradition and has been for some 27 years. How many times have your been to this country’s oldest ballpark and sang along to lyrics that have nothing to do with baseball or winning. No questions asked. We just sing. But I’m sure in the back of your mind, at some point, you’ve wondered…”what is the story behind why we sing Sweet Caroline at Fenway Park?”

Here’s a Story…

There have been many theories and rumors. For years, many people have believed the song was played in honor of Caroline Kennedy. That made sense, her family is Massachusetts royalty, after all. The likelihood of her attending a game at Fenway was much greater than the actual reason we sing the 1969 hit song. The answer to the great mystery of the story behind why we sing “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park has nothing to do with the Kennedys and everything to do with a Fenway staff member.

It was purely by accident that we picked up on this catchy little number and called it our own. Apparently the person in charge of the music at the ballpark decided to play it for personal reasons.  A friend had just had a baby girl named Caroline, and this employee played it in her honor. It’s just one of those freak of nature things. It played and never stopped playing.

 

Don’t you feel better, just knowing this. Well, lets dig a little deeper into this song.

  • The Story Behind the Song

    Folklore has it that Neil wrote this song for Caroline Kennedy. However, back in 2014, in an interview with CNN he revealed the real story behind the song. The truth is, Diamond was bascially searching for a name to fit into a song he had written about his wife (at the time), Marsha. On the TODAY show, the singer shared, “I was writing a song in Memphis, Tennessee, for a session. I needed a three-syllable name” and I couldn’t get a ‘Marsha’ rhyme.”

  • Diamond In The Rough

    After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Neil’s connection to our city became even stronger. According to CNN, he began donating proceeds from the song to the One Fund Boston. In 2014, the fund announced it was shutting down it’s operations, after raising and distibuting almost $80 million to more than 200 victims of the tragedy.

    Kansas City Royals v Boston Red Sox

    Neil Diamond sings “Sweet Caroline” during a game between the Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox in the 8th inning at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

     

  • Neil's Retun to Fenway

    Back on June 18 of 2022, Diamond made a very rare public appearance and even performed his 1969 signature hit, that has long been a staple at Fenway Park. Neil wore a Red Sox jacket and broke out into “Sweet Caroline,” at the bottom of the 8th, for a great big ball park sing-a-long! This was actually the first time he had done that since after the marathon bombings in 2013.  So good. So good. So good.

  • Zac Brown Band Loves Singing Neil Diamond at Fenway

    If you are playing Fenway Park, it’s kind of expected. Have you ever seen Zac Brown perform Neil’s hit?

     

  • Luke Bryan Sang "Sweet Caroline" At Fenway Park

    Were you there in 2018 when Luke broke into this? Of course, it’s a song close to his heart, as his wife’s name is Caroline.

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