Neil Diamond Owes His Career to the Brooklyn Dodgers


Neil Diamond Owes His Career to the Brooklyn Dodgers

Posted on Aug 19th 2009 12:30PM by Steve BaltinComments (0)

Neil Diamond’s recent return to the Brooklyn, N.Y. neighborhood where he grew up — filmed for his new live DVD, ‘Hot August Night: NYC’ — brought up plenty of memories for the singer. More than 50 years later, Diamond is still hurt by the move of his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. “The Dodgers were part of my existence so I have mixed feelings,” Diamond tells Spinner of now rooting for the team. “They left me. They abandoned me.”

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.”

Despite the betrayal, Diamond remains a baseball fan — “I still love the Dodgers, but there are other teams I root for as well,” he claims — and he still remembers the famed Dodgers/Yankees rivalry of the ’50s. “When I became aware of baseball there was that rivalry always at the World Series between the Dodgers and the Yankees,” he says. “They played in I think three or four World Series in the early ’50s and we got beat every time except 1955. I remember just standing by the window after the Dodgers won the World Series and screaming my lungs out. There were no words, it was just pure emotion, like, ‘My guys had finally won.'”

Ask him his favorite player though and the answer might surprise longtime Dodgers fans. “If I have to pick a single one it would be Willie Mays,” he says, a shocker considering Mays played for the rival Giants. “Right behind him would be Mickey Mantle even though Mantle played for the Yankees, who were our arch enemy,” he says. “And then of course every single player on the Dodgers.”

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