Last night's MLB All-Star Game in New York featured a few high moments, several low moments, and one weird moment. Neil Diamond's distorted, off-tempo rendition of "Sweet Caroline" just prior to Mariano Rivera's final appearance as an All-Star was one of the worst—but Fox did its best to cover that up.
Ostensibly a tribute to Boston Marathon bombing victims, the stunt flopped like nearly every other MLB (or Citi Field) attempt made with good intentions. Though, really, what did they expect a New York crowd to do when Boston's favorite song about 11-year-old girls is performed? As you can see above, they booed heavily. Fox quickly cut the crowd audio track to silence the boos, before realizing they'd have to eventually turn it back on for "Sweet Caroline"'s crowd-participatory moments.
If the audio mixer had set the pot back to its normal position and left it there, we wouldn't be discussing this. Instead, though, Fox manipulated the audio—cranking it up all the way during the "bum-bum-bum"s, and back down afterward. (You can tell because the musical accompaniment also magically gets louder, then softer again):
Here's what it actually sounded like, courtesy the crowd audio channel from the international broadcast feed. You'll see that, yes, people participated in the singalong. But it wasn't anywhere near the collaborative roar viewers on Fox were led to believe was the case:
I used to like Neil Diamond, but these stunts aren't doing much for his legacy. He's not the singer he once was; to blame him for this is ridiculous, as we all are likely not as good now as were were at something in which we excelled half a life ago. Last night's performance was terrible, and Fox manipulating things to make it appear less so deepens our suspicion that Fox Sports 1 may not be the perfect anti-ESPN we're hoping for.