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Littlefield On Sports: In The Wake Of Tragedy

Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz pumps his fist in front of an Amarican flag and a line of Boston Marathon volunteers, background, after addressing the crowd before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals in Boston, Saturday, April 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz pumps his fist in front of an Amarican flag and a line of Boston Marathon volunteers, background, after addressing the crowd before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals in Boston, Saturday, April 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

In ballparks around the country last week, one song played again and again.

Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” — a Fenway Park 7th inning-stretch ritual — became the sports anthem across the country in support of the people of Boston. This past Saturday at Fenway Park, Red Sox fans got a special performance from Diamond himself.

While Diamond sang his song along with the crowds, cameras panned in on fans hugging each other, holding posters “Boston Strong.”

It’s almost as if the stadium became, just for a few minutes, a church….a community center…. a place where everyone could just be together. So what is it about sports that makes this possible?

Guest

Bill Littlefield, host of NPR’s Only a Game (@onlyagameradio)

 


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  • J__o__h__n

    If the FCC gave the baseball player a pass on his language and the community wasn’t offended why was it censored on the radio?  Not that censoring words that anyone can figure out makes much sense anyway.

    • AnthonyGBrooks

      It’s a fair question, J_O_H_N.  Our decision to bleep out David Ortiz’s “f-bomb” was less about running afoul of the FCC, and more about respecting the concerns of at least some of our listeners.  In particular, we know that lots of young kids are listening to our program on their way home from school with parents.  When profanity or ”off-color language” occurs in the context of a story and is part of real, understandable emotion, then I am usually in favor of letting it on our air.  This, after all, is the way lots of people talk in unguarded moments.  But when we’re stepping back and considering it after the fact, then I think we need to observe a higher standard.  We know what Ortiz said, so it’s not necessary to replay it again and again. 
      – Anthony

      • J__o__h__n

        Thanks for the response.  Couldn’t not offending listeners with small children be accomplished by telling them to turn off the radio for ten seconds.  No school aged child was actually protected by bleeping the word. 

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