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Neil Diamond, Andrew Bailey offer a few musical surprises at Fenway

04.21.13 at 12:20 am ET
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Neil Diamond was the first musical surprise at Fenway Park Saturday afternoon, for even the Red Sox.

The 72-year-old hit-maker decided that he and his wife, Katie, heard the news that the final suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings had been apprehended and decided to make a trip across the country to pay his respects.

Diamond boarded a plane in Los Angeles early Saturday morning headed for Boston, where the couple landed close to noontime. Once off the plane, the singer called the Fenway Park switchboard with the intention of passing along one, simple request.

He wanted to sing his song, ‘€œSweet Caroline,’€ in person, at Fenway, during the eighth inning. A recording wouldn’€™t do on this day, one which was largely devoted to recovering from the bombings.

The answer, of course, was ‘€œabsolutely,’€ leading Diamond to his performance in right field. (To listen to the moment, click here.)

One half inning, there came another surprise musical interlude.

As Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey ran in from the bullpen, the Fenway speakers started blasting ‘€œShipping Up To Boston,’€ which, of course, was the well-known intro music of former Red Sox game-ender Jonathan Papelbon.

Normally, such an act would be relief pitching sacrilege. But not in this case. Papelbon would surely understand.

‘€œThat was something [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] and I discussed this morning,’€ Bailey said. ‘€œI said, ‘€˜Let’€™s do it.’€™ That ninth inning was a part of the game the fans really enjoyed for a long time. It was just something we decided to do and the way they erupted was unbelievable. It was just a good day.’€

The reliever (who wasn’€™t sure if he would continue with the intro music) added, ‘€œI don’€™t know what it was for or anything, but for the fans for that minute it was a little extra ‘€¦. It was definitely for the city. It was a staple for so many years here, I just wanted to do it.”

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