I’m not even a baseball fan. I never enjoyed playing it as a kid (do you remember that scene in WKRP of Cincinnatti, with Les Nesman standing in the outfield saying ‘please don’t let it come to me, please don’t let it come to me? – well, that was me), I find watching it on TV less entertaining than watching guys build treehouses (and that’s going some), and I do not care who wins the World Series.
Still, I would be remiss if I did not use my blog tonight to comment on the passing of Lawrence ‘Yogi’ Berra. He was a hell of a competitor, took the game very seriously (which is what you want in a ball player), and was, by all accounts, an all around good guy. He was so well liked that he even had a cartoon character named after him, and Yogi Bear was one of my favorite cartoons.
In addition, which is important to me as a writer, he had a talent for turning a phrase, an idiosyncratic but not terribly grammatical way of speaking that let everybody know what he was thinking, even if what he said didn’t actually make any sense.
“I shoulda stood in bed.”
“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up somewhere else.”
“Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
One of my personal favorites actually makes perfect sense. “In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”
But on the occasion of his death, the one quote that people are recalling the most is his famous “it ain’t over till it’s over,” which he said to a reporter one year as manager of the New York Mets. They were way behind but did come back to win the pennant in the last days of the season. It ain’t over till it’s over.
Yogi Berra played from 1946 to 1965, almost all of the time with the Yankees. Then, he continued on as a coach and a manager. He was involved in 21 World Series’, and that’s a record. He was married for 65 years and raised three sons, two of whom also played pro sports.
Now, at the age of 90, it is finally over. Well done, Mr. Berra. Well done.