The Three Songs I Play Every Opening Day

The Podcasting Store
3 min readMar 29, 2024


By Drew Holmes

Growing up just south of Boston, I was born a Red Sox fan. This love of baseball history and traditions is deeply ingrained in the New England psyche and the mood of the region ebbs and flows with the Olde Towne Team’s position in the standings.

Over the years I have created a tradition. Every Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season I play three songs that are near and dear to the hearts of all Red Sox fans. Each has a different meaning but no matter where I am that day they all transport me to a different time and place.

The first is Tessie by the Dropkick Murphys.

This song dates to the earliest days of Boston baseball, over 100 years ago, and was from the Broadway musical The Silver Slipper. The first Red Sox superfans, the Royal Rooters, sang the song as a rallying cry to help the then Boston Americans win the first World Series over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903. The Dropkick Murphys’ version recounts the story of the Royal Rooters and how their rabid fandom contributed to Boston’s World Series win.

Every time I hear this song, I’m transported back to 2004. Like the 1903 Americans, the Red Sox were in the playoffs and facing elimination but did not give up and somehow found a way to win. They staged the greatest comeback in baseball history, breaking the 86-year-old Curse of the Bambino. When I hear the Murphys’ bagpipes wail and piano thump I remember how that team persisted and accomplished something no one had ever done before.

The next song is Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.

When this song plays, I’m instantly in Fenway Park. No specific game, but it’s the middle of the eighth inning, and the Red Sox will soon bat. The words to the song are on the scoreboard, but the sold-out stadium does not need them. The crowd sings with reckless abandon, swaying as one, belting out the iconic “Bah! Bah! Bah!” with childlike enthusiasm. Neither the score nor the opposing team matter. In my mind I’m at the game with my dad, taking time to just be in the moment.

The final song is the Standells classic Dirty Water.

If you did not grow up in New England, this ode to a polluted Boston Harbor may be an odd choice for a sports team’s victory song. From the first twang of the iconic guitar riff you’re at attention, and the valentine to the city of Boston unfolds. As the lyrics talk about the criminals and lovers by the banks of the Charles River, you realize that your fondness for the city is because of its warts, not despite them. Like Boston, the Red Sox may not be perfect, but it is this imperfection that makes you love them.

Music has the power to instantly take us to a completely different time and place, to alter moods in ways that are beyond our control. Opening day is always full of hope. Taking time to celebrate with music is the best way I can imagine honoring the past while optimistically looking forward to the future. Here’s to a great season of baseball and making memories.



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