COMMENTARY | Neil Diamond's soothing voice started over the loudspeaker. Soon enough, the familiar ringing chorus of "Sweet Caroline" could be heard echoing through the ballpark.
On a typical afternoon, the scene should have been the middle of the 7th inning at historic Fenway Park, in one of the most extraordinary cities in the world, Boston, Mass. If you haven't seen the view from the top of the Prudential Center, trust me on this one.
But this wasn't a typical afternoon, and neither was the one that preceded it.
A day after the heinous events that unfolded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon left the country jolted, enraged and heartbroken, we found ourselves listening to Diamond's Fenway anthem in none other than the stadium of Boston's fiercest rival: the New York Yankees.
Sure enough, "Sweet Caroline" was being belted from the lungs of Yankees fans after the end of the 3rd inning Tuesday night. As a lifetime Yankees fan/Red Sox hater, this was certainly a bizarre scene to witness.
Heck, if you had told me on Sunday that the Yankees would be booming that same song that has been haunting my dreams since 2004, at Yankee Stadium, against the Diamondbacks, I would have called you crazy. Just as crazy as the fact that the Boston Marathon massacre actually happened.
Beloved former Red Sox third basemen (turned Yankee) Kevin Youkilis said, "We were pretty much sick to our stomach."
And how could you not be? The images spawned from this spineless act of terror are appalling.
Is this real? Did three people really lose their lives watching a sporting event? Did hundreds more suffer disfigurement? Well, frighteningly, the answer to all these questions is "yes." Thinking of all these realities makes hearing "Sweet Caroline" at Yankee Stadium all of a sudden not seem that out of the ordinary.
As a tribute to the city of Boston and all those affected by this despicable tragedy, the Yankees made right on this one. It was certainly something to witness, and something that will forever be ingrained in my baseball memory.
It was strange at first, almost eerie. But as I watched the Bronx faithful sing a song so foreign, it felt natural. It felt right.
After the song was played, Neil Diamond tweeted: "Thank you NY Yankees for playing 'Sweet Caroline' for the people of Boston. You scored a home run in my heart."
Yes, the Bombers knocked this one out of the park all right. It was a moving and incredibly uplifting gesture by the suddenly not-so-evil empire. Bravo, Yanks.
Stay strong, Boston. Everyone is rooting for you, Yankees included.
Tobias Rosen is from northeast Pennsylvania. He has been an avid Yankees follower his entire life. He is the creator of the recently launched sports blog Not Quite Grantland.
- Sports & Recreation
- Neil Diamond
- Sweet Caroline
- Boston Marathon