- Last Updated: 12:56 PM, June 10, 2012
- Posted: 3:04 AM, June 10, 2012
It has been a glorious playground of a professional life for me. I have seen more games and visited more cities and, generally, enjoyed myself more than anyone has a right to in any job. But there is one thing I cherish, one moment I crystallize, more than any other, and I am pretty sure that will be the case until the day they pry my laptop away from me.
I was there for the birth of a Yogi-ism.
And, as I’m sure has happened with each and every one of them, what he said a) made perfect sense and b) probably never occurred to the author, Mr. Berra himself, that a seminal moment had just passed.
Brief background: Yogi was on a ship outside Normandy on D-Day. On the 60th anniversary, I talked to him about that. I asked if he ever had been back. His answer was something of a warm-up Yogi-ism: “Why? I was already there.” Later, he mentioned a contingency of French dignitaries visiting his museum in Montclair, N.J., not long before.
“And the leader, he kissed me,” Yogi said. “He gave me one of those French kisses.”
The man is a treasure. We are reminded of that every time we see him. But we really remember because he has assembled one of the great canons of American wisdom this side of Mark Twain. And lately, his most famous of all observations — and we’ll just conveniently ignore that he once said, “I didn’t say everything I’ve said” — seems to have as much meaning as it ever did. We hear it from athletes at every level. From politicians. I even have a friend who swears a doctor said it to a relative who had just gotten a less-than-encouraging diagnosis.
A loyal reader, Michael J. Riccio, emailed this the other day: “There’s something wonderful about the long baseball season and the daily drama, even if my beloved Yankees are not making me think world championship. Then again, neither did my Giants until they played the Jets. There’s a lesson here, which brings to mind a Yogi-ism: ‘It ain’t over until it’s over.’ Your thoughts?”
My thoughts are, coaches and writers and philosophers have sought for years to boil sports down to its essence, and Yogi Berra did it — in passing — with six words (one of which, technically, isn’t even a real word) during a particularly hopeless time of the 1973 baseball season when Yogi was the only one alive who believed the Mets could win the pennant. You can have your Rockne speeches and your Lombardi rants and Rex Ryan telling everyone to eat a blankety-blank snack.
“It ain’t over till it’s over” is the greatest thing anyone ever said about sports. Period.Follow @NYPostsports