Neil Diamond surprised baseball fans at Boston’s Fenway Park on Saturday, taking the field during a Red Sox game to lead the crowd in a sing-along of his classic hit, “Sweet Caroline.”
The 1969 song has been an eighth-inning ritual for some time now, played at every Fenway game since 2002. The tradition took on added poignancy in the wake of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured 176 more; on Tuesday night, every Major League Baseball park in the country played the song in tribute to Boston.
Diamond spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the tribute on Tuesday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “What resonates for me tonight is the way music can offer comfort to people in times of joy or sorrow,” he said. “With a tragedy like this, there are no words, but if people can find healing in music, this is the reason I’ve been doing this for the last 50 years. It goes beyond what I ever imagined.”
For the first game at Fenway Park since the bombings, a day after the city had been locked down as the police pursued a suspect, 35,152 fans packed the stadium, according to MLB.com. Diamond reportedly flew in to the city just to attend the game.