Fever Pitch: This Fenway DJ Has a Song for Every Play"One of the great things about Fenway — with Boston fans being the greatest baseball fans on earth — is we don’t have to do much [to entertain people]."
If you go to Fenway Park while in Boston — and who doesn't during baseball season? — you'll get to experience TJ Connelly's work. He's the guy charged with finding the perfect song to bring to life pivotal moments of the game and bring the crowd to its feet.
Say — and this happened fairly recently — the opposing pitcher throws a wild stray that allows the Sox to score a run. Connelly can quickly code into the soundboard the raucous chorus, "Wild thing, you make my heart sing."
"It's fantastic, because the crowd is already cheering," says Connelly. "The pitcher is already rattled. The catcher or coach runs out. If the music keeps playing, the crowd sings along.
"Anything that gets the crowd going," he says.
Connelly, 34, is the official disc jockey for the Boston Red Sox. If you didn't know sports teams have official disc jockeys, don't worry. Even Connelly, a music entrepreneur and giant Sox fan, took a while to hit on the realization.
He was doing similar work at a comedy improvisation club several years ago, keying music on the fly to accompany the actors' unscripted, and fast-paced, sketches. One afternoon, as was typical on any spring, summer or fall day, he attended a Red Sox game.
"At some point, the DJ played something during a pitching visit that had to do with what was going on in the game," he says. "I suddenly went, 'Hey, I play music that has to do with stuff that just happened. I should see if I can do this at Fenway.'"
A colleague at the improvisation club also happened to work for the Red Sox, so Connelly sent her an e-mail, politely offering his service. A year later, he sent her another note. Months passed, and one day his telephone registered a call from the Red Sox.
"Lo and behold, they were calling and saying, 'We want you to come in and do interviews and an audition,'" Connelly says.
He served as Fenway's relief DJ for three years, and has been first string — playing all but four games — since 2008. He still talks like a kid who's been given the keys to the candy store.
Raised in Boston, Connelly skipped college and taught himself the tools necessary for launching businesses in Web hosting and musical entertainment. He now runs the People's Karaoke, which hosts karaoke nights for clubs, and works at Thirteen.net, which hosts sites for artists and producers.
Even with his multiple successes, his unanticipated ascension to Fenway's musical throne still floors him.
As is tradition, when Boston wins, he ends the game with the Standells' "Dirty Water." (Every Bostonian can chant the lyrics: "Well I love that dirty water / Oh, Boston, you're my home.") The middle of the eighth inning calls for "Sweet Caroline."
The rest of the game is Connelly's baby.
During a delay by the opposing team's catcher last year, Connelly popped in lyrics by the Kinks: "I'm so tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you." The stands erupted in cheers.
"One of the great things about Fenway — with Boston fans being the greatest baseball fans on earth — is we don't have to do much [to entertain people]," Connelly says. "You get to sort of just play the score to this fantastic thing at Fenway Park, which is an amazing place from the beginning."
Check out TJ's Boston.