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The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

t ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” the wis­est of the philoso­phers of sport fa­mously said, but now it re­ally, re­ally is. They don’t make ‘em like Yogi Berra any more, who dis­dained cliches like this one to make up his own.

Yogi died Tues­day night in a nurs­ing home near his home in New Jersey, aged 90, and he left be­hind an an­thol­ogy of apho­risms that tran­scend base­ball, the think­ing man’s sport. Base­ball has none of football’s smash-mouth vi­o­lence, none of bas­ket­ball’s thrash­ing, dunk­ing and run­ning up and down the floor in gaudy un­der­wear. Only base­ball could have pro­duced Yogi, who said goofy things with nuggets of in­sight and com­mon-sense wis­dom. We laughed, but with an ac­knowl­edg­ment and envy of his gift for mak­ing words dance.

There’s some­thing about base­ball that at­tracts the dif­fer­ent, the un­usual and the odd­ball, and makes the rest of us take odd­balls to heart. Dizzy Dean, the St. Louis Car­di­nals’ merry prankster of the De­pres­sion years who lived up to his name and then some, left such a mark on the lan­guage. When the English teach­ers of St. Louis com­plained that he made their job of stamp­ing out “ain’t” dif­fi­cult, Diz replied, “Well, a lot of folks who ‘ain’t’ say­ing ain’t, ain’t eatin’, ei­ther.”

Yogi’s say­ings were not an as­sault on the Queen’s English but an ex­er­cise in how to en­rich the lan­guage. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Well, who hasn’t, and some­times lived not to re­gret it? “Never an­swer an anony­mous let­ter.” That’s good ad­vice for ev­ery man. “We made too many wrong mis­takes.” Gen­er­a­tions of politi­cians in Washington heartily, sadly and en­tirely

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