General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Why is "Sweet Adeline" played at Red Sox games?

Asked by AstroChuck (37548points) June 19th, 2008 from iPhone

I know somebody from Red Sox nation has an answer to me. Also, what the hell is Cowboy up?

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11 Answers

lefteh's avatar

Well, I’m not from Red Sox Nation, but I’m from Baseball Nation, so I can tell you what I know.
As far as I know, the only reason behind the Sweet Adeline tradition is this:
In the early years of the 20th century, right around the opening of Fenway Park in 1912, a barbershop quarter used to frequent the stadium, performing between innings. Their signature song was Sweet Adeline, and so it has been a tradition ever since.

As far as “Cowboy Up,” the phrase was first used in relation to the Red Sox by infielder Kevin Millar during the 2003 season as a synonym to “man up” or “buck up.” His intent was to encourage his teammates to play their hardest and keep their determination strong in order to win the World Series that year (they ended up losing in the ALCS).

JonnyCeltics's avatar

FYI, it’s Sweet Caroline….!!!!!!!! Neil Daimond!

AstroChuck's avatar

Duh. Of course it’s Caroline. God, I’m not that old. What was I thinking?

lefteh's avatar

Actually, you were right.
Sweet Caroline has been played in recent years as a more.. er.. hip replacement to Sweet Adeline, the old barbershop quartet standard.

emt333's avatar

Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, and Tessie by the Dropkick Murphys are 2 red sox theme songs. after a home win they play Dirty Water, by the Standells

marinelife's avatar

This book describes the scene at the 1912 series when the tradition began.

@lefteh Once again your encyclopedic knowledge is impressive. Just baseball or all team sports in addition to the politics?

lefteh's avatar

Just baseball…

…and college football.

baseballnut's avatar

Here’s a google response:
Amy Tobey knows the answer to the ’‘Sweet Caroline” question.

Tobey began working for the Red Sox through her job at BCN Productions, a film and video communications company, having interned for the Boston Bruins.

Her assignment was to decide what music would be played at the park from 1998 to 2004.

She had noticed ’‘Sweet Caroline” was used at other sporting events, and she decided to send the sweetness over the Fenway speakers.

The song was picked up by fans, and the more it caught on, the more superstitious Tobey became about playing it.

Tobey would play the song somewhere between the seventh and ninth innings if the team was ahead, depending on whether she felt the team was going to win.

She didn’t go by any specific margin of runs, but rather who the opponent was, and her gut instincts.

’‘I actually considered it like a good luck charm,” Tobey says. ’‘Even if they were just one run [ahead], I might still do it. It was just a feel.”

In 2002, when new management took over at the park, they requested that Tobey play the song during the eighth inning of every game.

’‘They liked it and they just loved the crowd reaction with it and stuff,” she says.

Though Tobey says she was nervous the change would be bad luck for the team, its appeal to fans ultimately ruled.

And under the song’s spell, the Red Sox last season won their first World Series in 86 years.


Baseballnut beat me to the punch. How’d that happen?

lefteh's avatar

@baseballnut: I’m skeptical that that is the entire story. I know that Sweet Adeline was sang regularly by a barbershop quarter throughout the 20th century, and that Sweet Caroline‘s popularity is largely creditable to the earlier tradition. Perhaps Tobey’s choosing of Sweet Caroline is attributable the earlier popularity of Sweet Adeline?
That’s entirely speculation, though.

baseballnut's avatar

BASEBALLISLIFE – beat you to the punch cause I’m unemployed and tired of searching the job boards! Fluther is MUCH more gratifying at this point in time.

BTW – is it just me or is Neil Diamond’s writing of Sweet Caroline to Caroline Kennedy a little pervy?

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