BOSTON–In what can only be considered a preemptive attempt to curry political favor should Scott Brown win Tuesday’s special election to replace legendary Senator Ted Kennedy, the Red Sox plan to silence the celebrated voice of Neil Diamond at Fenway this season.
The shocking news was originally buried within a presser posted on the team’s MLB.com news releases page last Friday announcing minor league transactions. Within the release, disguised as a primer on potential impact players such as 41-year-old left-handed relief specialist Brian Shouse, the Red Sox announced that a recording of Brown’s daughter, Ayla, will replace “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth inning during all games played at Fenway Park during the upcoming 2010 season.
Brown, who has showcased her singing voice once or twice locally since appearing on American Idol, recorded the rendition of “God Bless America” on January 8 prior to performing the national anthem for the BU-BC hockey game at Fenway Park.
Club officials privately admitted to Fenway Pastoral that the timing of the release on the Friday before a long weekend was not a coincidence. After further questioning, the release was mysteriously edited and now merely highlights the relatively lackluster careers of journeymen such as Gil Velazquez, Fernando Cabrera, Jorge Sosa and Shouse.
According to a club executive speaking on condition of anonymity, the team believed they could successfully bury news about the cancellation of the playing of “Sweet Caroline” after local beat writers did not initially report the signing of the veteran Shouse until nearly two weeks after the transaction was posted on news wires.
As would be expected, the replacement of “Sweet Caroline” with an Ayla Brown cover was not received kindly by Red Sox fans.
“Right now, it’s probably the only thing Massachusetts can agree on,” said Barry Taylor of Jamaica Plain. “‘Sweet Caroline’ is awesome and everyone loves it. I’ve seen a lot of frustrating defeats at Fenway where the only good thing about the game was hearing Neil Diamond.”
In fact, even staunch republican Curt Schilling, who has campaigned hard for Scott Brown on his blog, 38 Pitches, planned to denounce the decision on his blog sometime after the election.
“‘God Bless America’? Where are we, Yankee Stadium?” asked incredulous Cambridge resident Joseph Graham. “The team is going to regret this decision.”
Asked about the announcement this morning at the Martin Luther King Day breakfast, Martha Coakley responded with a question of her own: “Who the (expletive) is Brian Shouse?”