Yogiisms Don't Make Sense Till You Get Them
Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 10:27AM

Quote: "I never knew Spider Man could get hurt, but he usually heals fast." Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii “Spider Man” Hunter, who injured his ankle in a game against the Boston Red Sox.

yogiberra.gifFigure of Speech:   Yogiism (YOGE ee ism), the idiot savant figure (also spelled yogism)

What is it about baseball and illogic? Take Yogi Berra, the ageless manager and guru of contradictory wisdom.   Every baseball writer can recite half a dozen yogiisms:

  1. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
  2. “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
  3. “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
  4. “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
  5. “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up someplace else.”
  6. “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
Why isn’t there an ancient Greek name for this figure? Well, when Yogi said, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humility,” he used an acyrologia (a-keer-o-LO-gia), or a humorously misapplied word.  (Most of us would call it a malapropism.)  But the ancients were too snobbish about “proper” speech and logic to appreciate the delights of the pretzel-twisted sentence.  We hopelessly illogical moderns know better.

Snappy Answer:  "Who you talking about, Torii?  Yourself, a cartoon character, or both?"

Advice to politicians - Always quote the great Yogi himself:  “I didn’t really say everything I said.”

Article originally appeared on Figures of Speech (http://inpraiseofargument.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.