Noted Italian-American gridiron football coach Vince Lombardi once famously announced “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Less noted — and, it turns out, less Italian-American — baseball writer Carson Cistulli once (less famously) said, “Scotch isn’t the only thing I drink; it’s the only thing I drink after noon.”
To this important conversation, third Italian-American Lawrence “Yogi” Berra has recently added a rich and compelling dimension, stating (according to Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal) “I’ll have a vodka with extra ice, and the scallops.”
Among the other scraps of wisdom extracted by Gay during his recent trip to Moneyball and dinner with the Yankee legend and his wife Carmen, we learn that:
• Berra’s greatest criticism of the film concerns actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of Art Howe — and, in particular, Hoffman’s girth. “Art’s a good guy,” says Berra. “And I never saw him that fat. He’s thin.”
• Father of Sabermetrics Bill James has “no doubt” that Berra is the greatest catcher who ever lived — even if the career WAR leaderboard suggests differently.
• Yogi Berra is still alive.