Thursday, September 24, 2015


After learning about the passing of Yogi Berra, I thought about when I first was "introduced" to him. Believe it or not, it was as a New York Met manager through my grandmother who was a Brooklyn Dodger fan.  Not the most direct path toward getting to know, Yogi, but it was a path none-the-less.

My grandmother didn't like the Yankees, but she liked him; everybody did.  And why not, he was a simple man who loved to play baseball and wanted to make it his career.  There is something incredibly nobel about someone who isn't afraid to take the fork in the road. It didn't matter which pathway he took, they both led to his home.  Whether figuratively his home behind the plate as a New York Yankee leader or actually to his home in Montclair, NJ.

Some say "When you come to a fork in the road, take it," stems from Yogi giving friend and baseball colleague Joe Garagiola directions to his home.  The story continues as Yogi says, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."  What he meant was that since either path lead to his home, it did not matter which way Joe took to get to his final destination. So, although confusing and perhaps witty to many at first, truthfully, Yogi was just looking to simplify.

A few years ago, my mother gave me a small sign that simply says "SIMPLIFY."  How many times do we complicate things by making things much more complex than necessary?  Think about it in the context of baseball, for instance.  We make pitching changes just to play the odds of lefty versus righty.  We sit one player over another because player A has more success against a starting pitcher than player B.  Players wear arm bands, compression sleeves, shin guards, and designer sun glasses.  They don tattoos, eye black and pine tar.  They take performance enhancers, take cheap shots at fans, demand over-inflated salaries and take the game to bigger extremes than ever imaginable in Yogi's playing days.

Yogi tried to keep simple a game that is often too complex.  After all, it is only a game that kids play and if fortunate, men play as a career, however long that lasts.  Of all Yogi's "Yogisms" perhaps "When you get to a fork in the road, take it" isn't the most popular, but certainly has deeper meaning than at first glance.  Choose a pathway, work hard, help others and when you need to turn, turn.  Don't let one failure get you down.  Pick yourself up and keep going.  Maybe that's the heart of his quote and perhaps it's at the root of many of his others, which may be more popular like "It ain't over 'til it's over"; or "It's like deja vu all over again."

Whatever your take on it, let it guide you toward finding your success.  Perhaps it's just the pep talk the Yankees need to stay focused on reaching their fork in the road, and taking it.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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