OK. I get it. Sometime between my junior high dances and 2006, Ottawan’s classically asinine “Hands Up” has been replaced by Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” as the song most likely to make people with no rhythm jump up and “dance”.
Personally, I blame Jason Biggs, Steve Zahn and Jack Black. Equally to blame are the marketing geniuses over at Fenway Park, who made “Caroline” a staple in their in-between innings entertainment. Up until last year, I was fine with this. As long as this idiosyncratic ritual was a Fung-Wah bus trip away from me, it did me very little harm.
Then it happened. It was an invasion of epical proportions on my sensibilities. Shea Stadium hopped on the bandwagon. I cannot pinpoint exactly the date and time this started, except that I noticed it this past October. And it was there again this past Saturday when I made my first of many pilgrimages to wonderful Flushing, Queens (has a great ring to it, don’t you think?) in 2007. The worst part of it was that I’d say nearly half the stadium was into it. Doing the whole “Look, ma! I can open my palms every time Neil says Sweet Caroline!” thing, along with the ironically awful “SO GOOD!” chant.
Now I have never been a fan of stadium music to begin with, especially since Gary Glitter was charged of abusing children in Vietnam thus making me feel queasy every time I hear “Rock and Roll (Part Two)” for all of eternity. There is just far too much Good Charlotte in this world. And “Sweet Caroline” is probably better than Yankee Stadium’s penchant for “YMCA” as performed by their grounds crew. But this is almost at that level.
So to the good people at Shea Stadium, I implore you. Leave Neil Diamond to Boston. They can have him. I do not want any song that has been covered by Guster (this is true) playing at a Mets game. To top it off, Neil Diamond himself admitted that he wrote “Sweet Caroline” right after he ran over a child with a car and left her for dead.
Or was that Will Ferrell? I don’t know.