An Ode to the Late, Great Yogi Berra: Currie

By Roger Currie

The silly season has returned. That time of year when football, hockey and baseball are all happening at once. Thanks to wonderful technology like that amazing toy — the PVR — the sports nut can have it all, and never have to leave the couch.

Normally, baseball would not get much attention from Canadians until closer to World Series time, but right now it’s almost our second national game, thank to the Toronto Blue Jays. I shall not say much more for fear of putting the Curse of the Leafs on them, but how neat it is to witness 47,000 people cheering them on at Rogers Centre for the first time in more than two decades.

The Jays’ main rivals in their division have been the pinstriped boys from the Bronx, the New York Yankees. Toronto took 13 of the 19 games between the two clubs this year, and the final series was electric.

The Yankees added #8 to their uniform sleeves when it was learned that Yogi Berra had died at the age of 90. The man who came up with priceless gems like “it ain’t over till it’s over” was truly one of a kind, and you couldn’t help but love him.

I was nine-years-old and a committed Yankee fan when Yogi leaped into the arms of Don Larsen after that amazing perfect game in the fall classic of 1956 against the Dodgers.

Russell Martin, who sealed that final victory over the Yankees this week with a three run homer, was once a catcher for the Yankees, and a good one.

Yogi had an amazing career, but he was anything but a classic’ ballplayer. He was one of the worst “bad ball” hitters the game ever saw. He would do everything but step in the bucket to smack an outside pitch, rather than settling for a walk.

How we will miss him, especially when thinking about restaurants that nobody goes to anymore, because they’re just too crowded.

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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.