Monday, August 02, 2010

Now this is truly scary.

I was cheering up a friend in the UK who finds himself at a crossroad in life. I quoted a local beloved NY philosopher Yogi Berra and apparently his brand of wisdom is even known there.
American Baseball is not followed in the UK so this is unexpected.

Yogi Berra is of course a much beloved baseball legend who like Mr B is from St Louis. Berra is the
opposite of the egotistical athlete in that he is loved for his modesty. Do not let the modesty and a series of beloved funny quotes fool you into thinking he is not a competitor or in reality a brilliant man.

After baseball Berra was a very wise and successful businessman. He made many commercials that played on his unusual wit. The creators of the Yogi Bear cartoon swore that the beloved cartoon character was not named after Yogi Berra.

An example of one of those quotes is "Always go to other peoples funerals or they won't go to yours." and "Steve McQueen must have made that film before he died".

The most famous of them "It isn't over until its over".

Of course my favorite is the commercial where Berra confuses the annoying AFLAC Duck. You can see this one on You Tube. Our own Ducky was the original who was fired for saying "progressive" instead of Aflack.

Sadly, another athlete who seemed to borrow from the Yogi Berra tradition apparently was bitter about it. A recent interview with Terry Bradshaw revealed the anger over years of playing the simpleton. Of course Bradshaw was no dope in that he called his own plays. He wasn't a scholar like Roger Staubach, but few people were. Bradshaw was part of a great team that included the Steel Curtain Defense. He also threw to two of the best receivers of his era Republican Lynn Swan and Stalworth. He could also hand off to one of the greatest runners of the era Franco Harris. All that being said he was an integral part of those great teams.

Bradshaw hid his anger very well because he looked like he was enjoying life. Like Berra he also made many commercials.He also portrayed his lovable everyman persona into years of TV commentary adored by fans. Michael Strahan has borrowed some of this and is loved by the fans. You can not teach someone to be lovable either you have it or you don't. Media execs who thought the annoying and crass Tiki Barber would translate into a media star forgot that Barber is loathed as a self centered boor who is not quite as bright as he thinks he is.

Berra is loved for his modesty and the ability to laugh at himself. You laugh with Berra who is
having a great time along the way.


Anonymous said...

...Excellent piece , I am really surprised to hear that about Terry Bradshaw and I am in the process of looking that up. It is not that I don't believe you at all , I am just a nut when it comes to a bomb like that ... I like to read every word possible about it. I came across your blog from a Yogi Berra Google Alert that I have had out since he fell and injured himself the week before the Hall Of Fame Induction . I enjoyed this very much and I am going to browse your site and read some things ... Thanks a bunch for your article.

jams o donnell said...

Strangely Baseball was popular here until WWII. Derby County FC's original ground was the Baseball ground. Strange that WWII killed the game given the large number of GIs in the UK from 42 onwards

jams o donnell said...

I didn't realise but one of the earliest references to baseball is by Jane Austen of all people!