Red Sox fans have “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond to serenade them in the eighth inning of every home game. The Yankees had their own serenader, Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, sing “God Bless America” before controversy kicked him out of Yankee Stadium. Now, Tynan has packed up and moved to Boston.
According to The New York Times, Tynan is making the move “for a change,” and because he had family and friends in Boston.
That may be so, but after losing his gig as Yankees singer due to what he calls a “misconstrued” statement, Tynan admits living in New York has been hard, according to the Times: “the barrage of angry e-mail messages and letters; the death threats; the surgeon who wrote saying he would let him die on the operating table, if Mr. Tynan were his patient; the prominent chef who steered him away from a table of customers because one of them was a Jewish man who refused to meet the singer.”
As the story goes, a real estate agent brought two Jewish ladies to view an apartment neighboring Tynan’s. The agent warned Tynan that the “two Jewish ladies” were very particular, and the tenor wondered if living next to him would be prudent.
Later, when an associate of the agent told Tynan the apartment had been sold, he joked, “Don’t worry, they’re not Red Sox fans.” Tynan retorted, “As long as they are not the Jewish ladies,” which was overheard by the client, Dr. Gabrielle Gold-Von Simson, also Jewish. Gold-Von Simson complained to the Yankees, who then told Tynan not to come to Yankee Stadium for Game 1 of the 2009 ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels.
“I made a comment that was misunderstood,” Tynan said. “If anyone knows the pain of discrimination, I do.”
Tynan was born with lower leg problems that forced him to wear braces. After complications following a car accident, Tynan elected to amputate both legs. He would go on to compete in the Paralympics on two prosthetic legs, representing Ireland in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Paralympics, according to the Paralympics Web site. He won four gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.
Tynan then became a physician specializing in orthopedic sports injuries before taking up singing at age 33 and emigrating to the United States in 1998.
Following the controversy, Tynan apologized to the Anti-Defamation League. ADL director Abraham Foxman, accepted the mea culpa.
“It is our belief that when an individual who has a record of good works, as does Dr. Tynan, slips up on one occasion, a sincere apology should help everyone move on,” Foxman said.
Below is a video of Tynan singing “God Bless America” on April 28, 2007 in Yankee Stadium as New York hosts Boston.