In Play: Soundout- Driving Mr. Yogi

Whether you’re in isolation, wishing you were in isolation, working from home or in an empty office wishing you were working from home- there is a good chance that you have some spare time on your hands. With no everyday baseball and/or baseball news, content for podcast on America’s past time has been somewhat quashed within recent weeks. Consequently, I have since turned to Amazon’s audio book service, audible in search of high quality audio content to suppress my cravings for baseball. After each completed title, I will be leaving a little synopsis and review of how I found the audio book. Next up…..

Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift Length: 7 Hours 23 Minutes Written by: Harvey Araton Narrated by: Peter Berkrot Rating: 5/5 Driving Mr.Yogi isn’t your prototypical baseball prose. It doesn’t follow in detail, if at all either Berra’s or Guidry’s journey to and then throughout their respective Major League careers. Instead, it shadows the heart-warming friendship between two men 25 years part in age but joined at the hip in their humour, values and mutual perpetual love for the New York Yankees . The book centers itself on Guidry and Berra’s annual trip to Tampa, Florida to be a part of the Yankees Spring Training operation. With a mutual love and excitement as strong as their first Spring Training, the book helps you remember just why we adore this sport so very much. An unlikely duo of accomplices, Araton dives into how the pair would come to flourish with Berra serving as the Yankees bench coach whilst Guidry was on the Yankees pitching staff during the mid-1970s. As their friendship develops in the years which follow, Araton pays detail to issues such as Berra’s high profile feud with “the boss”- George Steinbrenner, the discovery of Don Mattingly and Yogi’s perspective on baseball having served during WWII, notably on D-Day. Even as a non-Yankee fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was hard not to. To me, it felt like listening to stories and anecdotes from when the Yankees were not the modern day co-operate machine they’ve seemingly become today. Dare I say it, the Yankees were likable within it. One of the most interesting sections I found, was Berra’s interaction with the Yankees of today. When listening, I detected a strong undertone that the Yankees of today are quite different to the Yankees of yester year. Notably, I remember a few strongly worded lines regarding a number of high profile absent invitees from a late 00’s Yankees current roster to an annual Yogi charity golf day. The book follows Guidry and Berra as they return spring after spring, revealing in their own traditions whilst creating new ones year by year. A highlight of the book for me was the budding unlikely friendship between Yogi Berra & Nick Swisher with Berra often helping Swisher overcome any issues he had the plate with his time in New York. In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the listen. Araton is able to achieve a rare feat in combining humor, interest and brilliant storytelling with a strong subset of a budding friendship which would last a lifetime. It’s a terrific tribute to two great friends who shared not only an exceptional talent for the sport of baseball, but a brilliant friendship centered over a love for the New York Yankees. In a time where there is no baseball and we long for its return. This book fulfills every craving for baseball you will ever have.

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