ItalianAmerican: Yogi Berra

Baseball season is right around the corner, and this I, along with many others, will especially look forward to this season as a symbol to the end of a harsher than normal Northeast winter. Although I never like to sound like a cry baby, I couldn’t even hack this winter. Too much cold, far too much snow. We actually just  got hammered again with more ice and snow.

While having coffee with my Dad last night, we were flipping channels back and forth between the Mets and Yankees spring training games, watching the action in those absolutely balmy Florida climates.

It looked wonderful. The crowd was dressed in short sleeves, and there was some sweating going on.

With spring almost here, I could not help but get excited about getting me some hardball. A name almost synonymous with the word baseball is Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra. An unquestionable Italian American sporting icon, he was named American League MVP three times, voted an All Star 15 times, and was part of 10 World Series winners for the Yankees.

As accomplished as his baseball career was, Yogi is best remembered for his sometimes unintentionally funny quotes about baseball and life. The most famous is “It ain’t over till its over“, but there is a literal goldmine of “Yogiisms” that many people haven’t discovered yet.

My current favorite is “People used to say the Yankees won a lot because we led the league in Italians.”

The content below, courtesy of Wikipedia, is just a sampling of the brilliance of Yogi Berra. These are some classic quotes, along with what may be their origin.

Happy spring (baseball season) to all!

  • As a general comment on baseball:  “90% of the game is half mental.”
  • On why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s, a St. Louis restaurant:  “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
  • It ain’t over till it’s over.”  In July 1973, when Berra’s Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9½ games in the National League East; the Mets rallied to win the division title on the final day of the season.
  • When giving directions to Joe Garagiola to his New Jersey home, which is accessible by two routes:  “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
  • On being the guest of honor at an awards banquet:  “Thank you for making this day necessary.”
  • It’s déjà vu all over again“. Berra explained that this quote originated when he witnessed Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hit back-to-back home runs in the Yankees’ seasons in the early 1960s.
  • You can observe a lot by watching.”
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”
  • Responding to a question about remarks attributed to him that he did not think were his: “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

ItalianAmerican: Sylvester Stallone

88th Annual Academy Awards -Arrivals
The 88th Annual Academy Awards Arrivals Featuring: Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Flavin Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 28 Feb 2016 Credit: Apega/

Since the mid 1970’s, Sylvester Stallone has been my definition of the term American Idol.  As writer, actor, and director of some of the most famous franchises in the film industry, he has been nothing less than an Italian American inspiration.

He has inspired me for many years. In a previous post, I wrote how the original Rocky, the movie that was his breakthrough project, was also important in the life of  a particular socially awkward pre-teen.

With this inspirational movie as my training catalyst, I went from an overweight introvert destined for a life of sloth and obesity, to a young man that could do miles of running with ease, and, if needed,  physically eject uncooperative patrons from my family’s bar/restaurant.

Stallone kicked ass, and he showed me how to do it, too.

Again…thank you Mr. Stallone.

“I think everyone has a certain kind of formula in their life. When you deviate from that formula, you’re going to fail big or you’re gonna win big.”

“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.”

“I have great expectations for the future, because the past was highly overrated.”

“Once in one’s life, for one mortal moment, one must make a grab for immortality; if not, one has not lived.”

“Success is usually the culmination of controlling failure.”