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‘Sweet Caroline’ helps Boston mend

A former colleague, who now lives in Watertown, Mass., emails: “So. How was your weekend?”

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Would believe that everyone is in agreement on how well the bombing standoff ended, the swift, professional response of Massachusetts police and other first responders. It was tragic that four young citizens had their lives taken in this madness. It was good, too, to see crowds openly cheering the first responders.

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The Boston Red Sox hosted a cathartic congregation Saturday at Fenway Park. There was a game, too, but more so, there were ceremonies honoring the people involved in various rescues, some marathon runners who were victims, and an assortment of politicians, who on this day, didn’t seem like politicians. Rather more like public servants.

Even Neil Diamond sang the Red Sox’ theme song: “Sweet Caroline,” with a thunderous chorus from 35,000-plus voices.

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So how did this song become the “official” anthem of Red Sox baseball?

Well, I went to the source, of course: Mr. 30-3, Paul DelRossi. A Boston native, who won 30 games for Harvard College, the school’s all-time top pitcher, DelRossi says the use of the song had humble beginnings. DelRossi is a local developer who travels back to Boston often to see family.

The former music director at Fenway Park, Amy Tobey, played it in 1997 to honor a Fenway employee who had just given birth to a daughter named Caroline. When new ownership took over in 2002, the Sox’ marketing guy, Charles Sternberg, noted the reaction from the crowd whenever the song was played.

“It just sort of built from there,” DelRossi explains, adding, “no self-respecting Bosox fan would consider leaving before it is played, just before the bottom of the eighth inning.”
The song was released Sept. 16, 1969 as a single and sold a million-plus copies. Diamond told an interviewer in 2007 his inspiration was Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late president. He sang it to her on the occasion of her 50th birthday. According to LyricsWorld, the writers of the song are Diamond, Richard Penniman (aka Little Richard) and bluesman Albert King. In the last couple of years, “Sweet Caroline” has sold 1.4 million digital downloads.

Incidentally — and unrelated — when the New York Yankees win, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” is played on the public address system as the fans depart Yankee Stadium. When they lose, it’s Liza Minnelli’s version of the song.

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Come Thursday, three leading Sheridan citizens will be honored for their contributions to the community and their philanthropy. The honorees of the Keystone Awards: Ky Dixon, Homer “Scotty” Scott, Jr., Neltje.

There will be an honoree reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Red Velvet Bakery/Twisted Hearts with the awards show beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the WYO Theater.

Proceeds will benefit the services at the Sheridan Senior Center.
It is presented by: First Interestate Bank, Kennon Aircraft.
Congratulations!

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