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Yogi Berra's advice

April 29, 2013 - Mike Donahey
“What Time Is It ... You Mean Now? by Yogi Berra with Dave Kaplan, is one of several books I keep on my desk.

I like to read a chapter or two now and then when I need a laugh or an attitude adjustment. It is funny, cleverly written, and full of good ol’ common sense.

Older readers will instantly recognize Berra as the former New York Yankees's catcher. The St. Louis native had a stellar career with the Bronx Bombers when they were arguably the most dominant team in baseball. Berra played on 10 world championship teams, with a reputation for delivering clutch hits in regular season and World Series play.

Ironically, he may be better known for his “Yogisms.” To wit: “It gets late awful early out there,” “It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore,” “It ain’t over ‘til its over, and “Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”

Regardless, in Berra's book one will find a game plan for handling life’s many challenges. “The best way to deal with any bad situation is to believe in yourself and have confidence that things will get better,” he wrote. “After all, if you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else?" — is one of my favorites. Berra, using his own personal experience, provides many a teachable moment. He had failed in a try-out for his hometown Cardinals under the watchful eye of then general manager Branch Rickey (the same portrayed by Harrison Ford in “42”). Rickey told Berra he never would be a major league baseball player but Berra, at 19, proved him wrong. The Yankees signed Berra the following year and “things worked out okay.”

In the same chapter, he describes being part of the 1944 D-Day invasion. He was one of six sailors on a LCSS (landing craft support small), and their job was to fire on the German emplacements while the Allied troops behind the boat waded ashore. “I understood the danger,” he wrote, “ but I didn’t have time to be scared.” Their strategy was to keep the craft moving — it worked — they were shot at but not hit.

He ends the chapter with more advice about keeping a positive attitude. While driving with family to Cooperstown, N.Y. — site of baseball’s Hall of Fame — Berra got lost. “I said we were lost, but at least we were making good time.”



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