During last night’s New York Yankees game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Yankees paid tribute to the Boston Marathon Bombing victims by playing “Sweet Caroline” before the 3rd inning. As someone who lives in New York and knows people from Boston, I’m more than well aware how deep those two teams rivalries go with each other. And I’m someone who doesn’t even do sports. I’d watch a Kate Hudson rom-com ten times over before I’d turn the game on. So trust me when I saw on behalf of both cities that this gesture’s a big deal.
For those of you who are in the same sports boat as me (that’s the boat with free wifi, complimentary breakfast and TLC playing 24/7), you should know that Sweet Caroline’s a huge Boston song — and it’s often sung sing-a-long style during Boston Red Sox games. On any other night, playing that song in Yankee Stadium would be close to sacrilege. It’s silly, but it’s true.
Thank you NY Yankees for playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ for the people of Boston. You scored a home run in my heart. With respect, Neil #OneBoston
— Neil Diamond (@NeilDiamond) April 17, 2013
And that’s why watching this video of them playing the song last night while New York Yankees fans sung along brought tears to my eyes. Not only did because it reminded me of the innocent victims of this senseless tragedy, but because it reminded me that what happened transcends sports rivalries and city allegiances and any of those other meaningless things that we so often let divide us. As corny as it sounds, there’s nothing quite as uplifting as seeing people putting aside their differences and coming together. Especially in the wake of something this horrible.
Like Patton Oswalt said in his now famous Facebook message, “But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.”
This might just be a song, but it’s a powerful one and I hope the message that comes out of it is that we all stand united against violence, regardless of where we’re from or what we believe in or what teams we’re rooting for during baseball season.