It was the year 2002 “Sweet Caroline” became the anthem as the bottom of the eighth inning approached for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park. Ever since, it has played without hesitation at every Red Sox game. It has become Boston’s anthem. But it is now 2013 and tragedy has struck our beloved city. However, that just means stronger camaraderie as a city and as a country. This Tuesday proved just that when Neil Diamond entered the infield at Citi Field, in New York. It was the bottom of the eighth at the 84th annual Midsummer Classic, the All-star game. 45,000 fans sprung up from their seats and sang along with Mr. Diamond as “Sweet Caroline” resonated the park. It must have been the largest sing-a-long to date.
History was made not only as Neil Diamond entered the field,but also when Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect inning (ironically) at the bottom of the eighth. With only 16 pitches, Rivera retired the side for what would be his last inning in attendance at the All-Star game. The 43 year old will be retiring after this season. With 638 career saves under his belt, it was only right to have a standing ovation as he approached the mound.
As for the Red Sox, Clay Buccholz attended the game, but was unable to play due to shoulder soreness. The DH for the American League was our beloved David Ortiz who went 0-2 as did Dustin Pedroia before he was replaced by the Indian’s, Jason Kipnis.
It was the tragedy that fell upon our city on April 15, 2013 that brought our nation together in every sports stadium. I remember the Bruin’s shirt on the statue that stands before TD Bank that stood for the 11 year old boy killed in the bombing. The Celtics also paid homage to the city as their season came to an end, and the Red Sox, of course, paid tribute in their own way. Nobody will ever forget David Ortiz’ speech. I don’t think I have to repeat it. “Sweet Caroline” is not just the Red Sox’ anthem anymore, it’s our entire country’s. Thank you Neil Diamond for being such a true patriot!