If it wasn’t for the late Walter O'Malley, today Boston Red Sox fans would not know what to sing in the middle of the eighth inning, countless musical impersonators would be out of work and the sequin shirt industry in America would have folded.
Without O’Malley’s bold move, there would be no Neil Diamond.
In 1958, after he couldn’t get the land to build a new stadium in Brooklyn, O’Malley packed up his Dodgers and moved them to the other coast and they became the Los Angeles Dodgers. That move devastated a generation of Brooklyn baseball fans, including a young Neil Leslie Diamond.
That hurt may still resonate, something any Dodgers fan of the '50s can relate to and empathize with, but it turns out if wasn't for the sting of that move Neil Diamond, music superstar may not exist. It was only then his parents turned to music to help his depression. "I remember when they left, they were leaving for a far-off place, Los Angeles," he recalls. "I went into a real funk and it prompted my parents to support the idea that to cheer me up cause I was always singing, to get me some guitar lessons just to bring me out of the funk. And I found something that absorbed me completely for the rest of my life."
Diamond, of course, went on to be one of the most successful songwriters in American history, with big hits like “Cherry, Cherry” and “I’m a Believer,” and of course everybody’s favorite piano bar and baseball stadium sing-along song, “Sweet Caroline” (da, da, da).
The Dodgers have gotten along just fine without Brooklyn. They kicked the poor immigrant families out of Chavez Ravine and built one of the most beautiful stadiums in baseball, have won a few World Series, and continue to be near the top of the league in attendance every year.
But that pain of his team leaving town can still be heard in the music of Neil Diamond. All of which means some parents in Seattle, trying to get their son over the devistating loss of the Sonics, may have helped create the next great American songwriter.