An article in The New Yorker this week (and last week, this being a well-deserved double issue) sorts out some misconceptions when it comes to famous quotations.
Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Neither Ingrid Bergman nor anyone else in “Casablanca” says “Play it again, Sam”; Leo Durocher did not say “Nice guys finish last”; Vince Lombardi did say “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” quite often, but he got the line from someone else. Patrick Henry almost certainly did not say “Give me liberty, or give me death!”; William Tecumseh Sherman never wrote the words “War is hell”; and there is no evidence that Horace Greeley said “Go west, young man.”
Yogi Berra is mentioned in the piece as well, quite amusingly, in fact: “… when Yogi Berra said ‘I didn’t really say everything I said’ he was correct.”
But at least it’s refreshing to think that athletes and coaches once said something of substance when interviewed. Talking to high school football players after a game can often be painful for a reporter, and the media coaching scene in Bull Durham was funny because it’s true. Baseball America does us a service when it recaps the minor league season each September with some of the best quotations from some of the game’s best prospects.
So it was news today when Alex Rodriguez spoke frankly about his relationship with Derek Jeter and how it is no longer as tight as it once was. I particularly liked when he spoke freely about his contract: “I love being the highest-paid player in the game. It’s pretty cool. I like making that money.”
Personally, I’m not sure if this Rodriguez-New York relationship can work, but I did admire the player before he joined The Empire, and I’d prefer not to hate him, even if I hate the Yankees. Sadly, he’ll enter the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, but at least he’ll reclaim the all-time home run crown and remove the stain that is sure to affix itself sometime this season when it’s no longer held by Hank Aaron. And then, by the time Albert Pujols is done, it might be held by a Cardinal for the first time since Babe Ruth knocked Roger Connor down a notch.