What a night. The Yankees offer a glimpse of light - and maybe, just maybe, a future star. You go to bed dreaming of Greg Bird leading the team for 20 years. You wake up to learn Yogi Berra is gone...
One was over-matched by fame, seduced and reduced into drinking and a premature death. The other fitted easily into his role as philosopher-jester, becoming the most universally loved character that American sports has ever produced.
I think it's relevant that two nicknames have never been appropriated by the machinery of modern sports marketing. There has never been another Babe. There has never been another Yogi. To say that nobody could match up is an understatement. Nobody ever will. There are Ruthian seasons, and there are Yogi-isms. Both will be remembered, - if not mythologized - as long as our culture survives.
Well, we knew this was coming. In public appearances, Yogi looked incredibly frail. It's too late to act shocked - shocked! - at the revelation that even a Yankee legend can die. But long after we're in the grass, people will be quoting Yogi about nickels and dimes, about forks in the road, and about deja vu happening all over again. But make no mistake: There is no deja vu for today's news.
There was never anyone like Yogi. And there will never be another.