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Author Topic: Yogi Berra gives a speech.  (Read 1791 times)

Jessica A. Engle

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Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« on: June 26, 2007, 12:53:41 pm »

Yogi's speech ain't over till it's over your head
By Dan O'Neill
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
05/27/2007

index.php/fa/5501/0/

Deadlines being what they are for this Sunday column, this essayist missed a momentous occasion recently. Yogi Berra accepted an honorary degree from St. Louis University and delivered the commencement speech for 1,900 graduates and 10,000 in attendance at Scottrade Center.

It's hard to imagine a more promising lingual event. Berra is to vocal communication what Don Cherry is to the fashion industry. Yogi doesn't so much command the English language as he corkscrews it. It is part of what makes the baseball Hall of Famer and pride of the Hill one of America's endearing figures.

While the oratory went unrecognized in this space last week, I was fortunate enough to secure — wink, wink — a copy of the discourse and felt compelled to share it with those who did not attend. So here is, in its entirety, Yogi's dissertation:

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~

"Thank you all for being here tonight. I know this is a busy time of year, and if you weren't here, you could probably be somewhere else. I especially want to thank the administration at St. Louis University for making this day necessary. It is an honor to receive this honorary degree.

"It is wonderful to be here in St. Louis and to visit the old neighborhood. I haven't been back since the last time I was here. Everything looks the same, only different. Of course, things in the past are never as they used to be.

"Before I speak, I have something I'd like to say. As you may know, I never went to college, or high school for that matter. To be honest, I'm not much of a public speaker, so I will try to keep this short as long as I can.

"As I look out upon all of the young people here tonight, there are a number of words of wisdom I might depart. But I think the most irrelevant piece of advice I can pass along is this:

"The most important things in life are the things that are least important.

"I could have gone a number of directions in my life. Growing up on the Hill, I could have opened a restaurant or a bakery. But the more time I spent in places like that, the less time I wanted to spend there. I knew that if I wanted to play baseball, I was going to have to play baseball. My childhood friend, Joe Garagiola, also became a big-league ballpayer, as did my son, Dale. I think you'll find the similarities in our careers are quite different.

"You're probably wondering, how does a kid from the Hill become a New York Yankee and get in the Hall of Fame? Well, let me tell you something, if it was easy nobody would do it. Nothing is impossible until you make it possible.

"Of course, times were different. To be honest, I was born at an early age. Things are much more confiscated now. It seems like a nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. But let me tell you, if the world was perfect, it wouldn't be. Even Napoleon had his Watergate.

"You'll make some wrong mistakes along the way, but only the wrong survive. Never put off until tomorrow what you can't do today. Denial isn't just a river in Europe.

"Strive for success and remember you won't get what you want unless you want what you get. Some will choose a different path. If they don't want to come along, you can't stop them. Remember, none are so kind as those who will not see.

"Keep the faith and follow the Commandments: Do not covet thy neighbor's wife, unless she has nothing else to wear. Treat others before you treat yourself. As Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 'The only thing you have to fear is beer itself.'

"Hold on to your integrity, ladies and gentlemen. It's the one thing you really need to have; if you don't have it, that's why you need it. Work hard to reach your goals, and if you can't reach them, use a ladder. There may come a day when you get hurt and have to miss work. Don't worry, it won't hurt to miss work.

"Over the years, I have realized that baseball is really just a menopause for life. We all have limitations, but we also know limitation is the greatest form of flattery. Beauty is in the eyes of Jim Holder.

"Half the lies you hear won't be true, and half the things you say, you won't ever say.

"As parents you'll want to give your children all the things you didn't have. But don't buy them an encyclopedia, make them walk to school like you did. Teach them to have respect for others, especially the police. They are not here to create disorder, they are here to preserve it.

"Throughout my career, I found good things always came in pairs of three. There will be times when you are an overwhelming underdog. Give 100 percent to everything you do, and when that's not enough, give everything you have left. 'Winning isn't everything, but it's better than rheumatism.' I think Guy Lombardo said that.

"Finally, dear graduates and friends, cherish this moment; it is a memory you will never forget. You have your entire future ahead of you.

"Good luck and Bob's speed."
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Tomas Danko

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2007, 01:02:18 pm »

Truly awesome!  Laughing

"Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."

We all marvel in the pile that is made out of his sheer wisdom.
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Barry Hufker

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2007, 01:15:02 pm »

As cute as that is, that *can't* be his speech.  It has to be contrived.  The author even says: "I was fortunate enough to secure — wink, wink — a copy".

Barry
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Jessica A. Engle

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2007, 01:43:47 pm »

Barry,

Whaddayamean, like, the writer just looked up a bunch of stuff he said at some time and put it together?   That doesn't seem very sporting....  Can he do that?

Jessica
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Tomas Danko

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 01:57:14 pm »

Barry Hufker wrote on Tue, 26 June 2007 18:15

As cute as that is, that *can't* be his speech.  It has to be contrived.  The author even says: "I was fortunate enough to secure — wink, wink — a copy".

Barry



Please man, don't ruin my illusion. I like it *just* the way it is.

Next thing you'll be telling me you're really not Danger Mouse at night.
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"T(Z)= (n1+n2*Z^-1+n2*Z^-2)/(1+d1*z^-1+d2*z^-2)" - Mr. Dan Lavry
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Jessica A. Engle

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2007, 01:59:14 pm »

Tomas Danko wrote on Tue, 26 June 2007 12:57


Next thing you'll be telling me you're really not Danger Mouse at night.



Pssst.... c'mon man..... he's not Danger Mouse at night, he's Mighty Mouse!

Jess
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Tomas Danko

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 02:27:59 pm »

Jessica A. Engle wrote on Tue, 26 June 2007 18:59

Tomas Danko wrote on Tue, 26 June 2007 12:57


Next thing you'll be telling me you're really not Danger Mouse at night.



Pssst.... c'mon man..... he's not Danger Mouse at night, he's Mighty Mouse!

Jess


NOW WHAT DID I JUST SAY I DID NOT WANT TO HEAR?!!??!!  Rolling Eyes
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Barry Hufker

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2007, 02:46:27 pm »

From the Saint Louis University website regarding Yogi's speech.

Then Berra, who turned 82 on May 12, revealed the wisdom behind many of his most famous "Yogi-isms," the classic quotes and quips that propelled him to pop culture status and made him one of the most quoted sports figures in history.

"Dear graduates, when you come to a fork in the road, take it," Berra said. "In life, the only poor decisions are the ones you don't follow through on. When you leave here today you will have more choices than you ever thought possible. But when you have to make a choice, make it because you believe in it. Then stick to your guns."

Then he addressed one of the quotes that people most often ask him about: "If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be."

"People always tell me that quote I said doesn't make much sense. But all of you understand what I'm saying, right?" he asked the estimated 10,000 graduates, family members and friends in the crowd. "I know you got a good education at SLU. And I'm sure it's opened your eyes to the people in the world who need your help. But most important, your SLU education has prepared you to give that help."

"True. The world isn't perfect. It can be better. And you can make it that way."

Berra encouraged the graduates to be great at whatever profession they pursue. It's a message he frequently shares with children through his various charity efforts for youth groups.

"Be careful if you don't know where you're going in life, because you might not get there," he said, quoting another classic Yogi-ism. "Wherever you go; whatever you do; be the best you can be. Be the greatest. I always said if I had been a plumber, I would have been a great plumber."

In the end, Berra shared the words of another Hall-of-Famer, Joe DiMaggio, who said he looked forward to opening day like a child looks forward to a birthday party, expecting something wonderful to happen.

"I say to you, class of 2007: Go out and live your life like every day is opening day," Berra said.
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PRobb

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2007, 02:47:29 pm »

favorite Yogiisms

"When you come to the fork in the road, take it"

"It gets late early around here"

"90% of this game is half mental"

And, of course, "I never said half the things I said".

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Jessica A. Engle

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2007, 02:58:25 pm »

Sigh.  

Is this article one of those "I'm too young to get it" jokes?

Because I don't get it.  

Jessica
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George_

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2007, 03:17:44 pm »

same here.. 2 years older than you are..

still pissing my pants..  Laughing  Laughing and can't follow those old farts  Twisted Evil  Very Happy
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Barry Hufker

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2007, 03:36:51 pm »

You're not too young.  It's just satire.  It's too Yogi to be Yogi.  And yes, you may quote me.

Barry
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PRobb

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2007, 03:48:09 pm »

Every time I've seen Yogi interviewed he comes across as a charming old guy who gets his own joke and enjoys playing with it (like in his Aflac ad). I bet he laughed as hard as anyone at the parody.
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Fibes

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2007, 03:58:41 pm »

His style is inimitable although I have spent my life trying.

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PRobb

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2007, 10:26:43 am »

And lest we forget, he was a hell of a ballplayer. One of the best catchers, perhaps second only to Bench, in the history of the game.
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CHANCE

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Re: Yogi Berra gives a speech.
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2007, 10:47:05 am »

Reading that first post/transcription, sounds like "Norm Crosby" (the comedian) was speaking. It seemed obviously intentionally funny.
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