BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s face it, we Bostonians can be a negative bunch at times. We have our reasons. The soil is rocky, the winters are long, the traffic is terrible. And if you don’t like it, you can lump it, take it down the road and dump it. But the calls for abandonment of a positive local tradition aggregated in the Boston Globe strike me as pushing the flinty New Englander thing just a bit too far.

Believe it or not, a supposedly growing number of folks want to get rid of “Sweet Caroline,” the goofy Neil Diamond sing-along that’s been a staple of the eighth inning break at Fenway Park for 16 years. Every time I’ve been to the park since then, the fans seem to love it. Diamond himself came to sing it at the first home game after the marathon murders.

And you may recall the song actually helped bring together the irreconcilable, Red Sox and Yankee fans, when it was sung in the Bronx after the terror attack. But all of this is too much good feeling and positivity for some, who tell the Globe they’ve tired of the “Sweet Caroline” ritual, it’s run its course, it’s annoying, and so on.

Neil Diamond sings “Sweet Caroline” in the 8th inning at Fenway Park on April 20, 2013. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

They’re even complaining that “Sweet Caroline” singalongs have become popular in other cities and sports, as if that somehow tarnishes the experience. By that same logic, shouldn’t we be doing away with the National Anthem too?

I like to think I’m as cynical and snarky as the next Bostonian, but this is too much for me. I say, keep “Sweet Caroline.” It’s fun, and what the buzzkill crowd doesn’t get is that fun is so good, so good, so good.

Your opinion is welcome, share it via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Comments (3)
  1. Steve Stein says:

    That particular Neil Diamond performance, while inspirational and well-meant, went seriously awry due to Fenway’s echoes.

    1. Ah, the echos of Fenway…

      A fond memory.

  2. Keller has a right to his opinion, as well as those that enjoy the “Sweet Caroline” tradition. Nothing wrong with it.
    But Keller must be aware that Neil Diamond himself proclaimed the song was inspired by Caroline Kennedy when she was a young girl. HUH?!
    Listen closely to the song’s lyrics and that seems downright creepy! Why would Diamond say that?! Where’s the #metoo crowd?

    Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
    But then I know it’s growing strong
    Was in the spring
    Then spring became the summer
    Who’d have believed you’d come along
    Hands, touching hands
    Reaching out, touching me, touching you
    Sweet Caroline
    Good times never seemed so good
    I’d be inclined
    To believe they never would
    But now I
    Look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely
    We filled it up with only two
    And when I hurt
    Hurting runs off my shoulders
    How can I hurt when I’m holding you
    One, touching one
    Reaching out,…

    Still like this tradition? I guess if you ignore its basis and just like to feel “so good” while belting it out at the old ballpark.

Leave a Reply