Baseball season has popped up again. And I'm at a point in my life now I can remember the past 40 season openings.
I'm getting so old, in fact, I remember when male fans wore white shirts to games. The bleachers were a sea of white.I remember when the term "money player" was coined for guys who came through in the clutch, not guys who clutched a lot of coin.
And I even remember when Yogi Berra was actually embarrassed by the dumb things he would say.
Now he owns up to every screwball comment - even the ones he didn't make. He revels in them. He's making a killing as America's silly sage.
I know this because his latest collection of priceless pearls can be found in "The Yogi Book: "I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said."
Berra, as you know, was a catcher for the New York Yankees during the team's salad days in the '60s. He also had a knack for saying goofy things that were accidently insightful. His most famous tidbit was probably the phrase "It ain't over till it's over," though I always had a fondness for: "Nobody goes there to eat anymore; it's too crowded."
No, it's not exactly Shakespeare. In fact, I have a friend who says the same kind of things all the time, only people don't write books about him. They usually just chortle at him while his face turns red. But then the guy never learned to play baseball.
Yogi, on the other hand, did. And that has given him a leg up in the verbal beanball game. Yogi's laughing stock has gone up and up.
Here are some of the treats he's tossed to the crowd over the years.
Keep them around as snacks for the upcoming season.
- On death: "Always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise they won't go to yours.
- On education: "You can observe a lot by watching."
- On competition: "The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."
- On dinner parties: "It was hard to have a conversation with anyone. There were too many people talking."
- On being economical: "Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."
- On getting plenty of rest: "I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4."
The Yogi-ism I recall most vividly isn't even in the book, however. During a pre-game interview on television, the host asked Yogi if he was prepared to deal with all the intangibles on the team.
Yogi looked down.
"I'll be all right," he said. "We have a couple of guys on the club who speak both Spanish and English."