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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2010 / 1 Teves, 5771

Murderers' Row, Or: Exit Laughing

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What was the greatest baseball team in history?

The 1927 New York Yankees regularly lead the list of nominees for that distinction. The sluggers at the heart of the Yankee line-up came to be known as Murderers Row: Earle Combs (CF), Bob Meusel (LF), Babe Ruth (RF), Lou Gehrig (1B), and Tony Lazzeri (2B). The names still ring in the annals of the game, or rather resound -- like the crack of a bat.

It isn't just the ball that great players can knock out of the park but the language. For those of us with a taste for malaprops of all sizes and shapes, whether gosh-awful or just off base, baseball may be a richer mine of mangled syntax than politics and Hollywood combined.

The position that seems to produce the richest crop of these howlers may be manager. For the dugout has as many characters as any position on the field. In baseball as in business, management is the place to look for the kind of lingo that sounds as if it's just survived a bad wreck.

That thought came back on reading of the death of George Lee (also and better known as Sparky) Anderson, who led teams in both the National and American leagues to World Series championships. He also deserves inclusion in the triumvirate of baseball managers who could turn the language every which way but loose. They'd mangle a phrase without malice aforethought, so natural were their verbicidal tendencies.

The undoubted leader and undisputed champion of this trio had to be Yogi Berra, whose language remains the gold -- well, brass -- standard of the trade. By now so many Berra-isms have entered the language that they constitute a dialect of their own, and to review them would to risk a sense of deja vu all over again.

It's hard to pick a favorite, but high on the list would be gems like, "Nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded," and "You can observe a lot just by watching." Can't argue with that. Yogi also had his take on the game itself: "Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical."



The English language never stood a chance when Yogi took it on, any more than pitchers did when they had to face Combs, Meusel, Ruth, Gehrig and then Lazzeri.

By now it scarcely matters whether Yogi Berra actually perpetrated these literary offenses. (The technical term for them may be Irish Bulls.) Even if he didn't coin all the beauts credited to him, Yogi was bound to be given the credit/blame for them. If only to lend them a spurious authority. The way every witticism of the Roaring Twenties was attributed to Dorothy Parker. Or as Yogi himself once put it, as only Yogi might: "I never said most of the things I said."

Batting second in this line-up was the all too imitable Casey Stengel, whose verbal miscues were as various and colorful as his baseball career. Among his classics: "Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa."

Casey Stengel hit his high point July 8, 1958, when he was called on to offer his expert testimony to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Trust and Monopoly (the Hon. Estes Kefauver presiding). Mr. Stengel was there to clarify baseball's exemption from the ant-trust laws, and before he was through, he'd clarified the subject beyond all understanding. To cite just one impenetrable example from the official record:

Senator Kefauver: "I was asking you, sir, why it is that baseball wants this bill passed."

Mr. Stengel: "I would say I would not know, but would say the reason why they would want it passed is to keep baseball going as the highest paid ball sport that has gone into baseball and from the baseball angle, I am not going to speak of any other sport. I am not here to argue about other sports, I am in the baseball business. It has been run cleaner than any business that was ever put out in the one hundred years at the present time. I am not speaking about television or I am not speaking about income that comes into the ballparks: You have to take that off. I don't know too much about it. I say the ballplayers have a better advancement at the present time."

There, that cleared everything up. After an interminable hour or two of similar testimony, the distinguished senator from Tennessee turned in frustration to Mickey Mantle, the famous slugger who'd accompanied Casey to the hearing. Maybe the senator was hoping for a translation. There was something akin to desperation in his voice as the learned senator asked: "Mr. Mantle, do you have any observations with reference to the applicability of the antitrust laws to baseball?"

To which the sage Mantle, who knew how to bunt as well as hit, replied: "My views are about the same as Casey's."

Now that was masterful. And concise. There are times in congressional testimony as in design that less is more.

If you'd like to hear an audio of Professor Stengel explaining the anti-trust laws to the mystified honorables on this congressional committee, and you don't want to miss it if you're as big a fan of (a) the malaprop, and (b) baseball as I am, then just click onto http://www.history.com/audio/casey-stengel-on-anti-trust-laws.

You'll find ol' Case's lecture a mix of S.J. Perelman, Groucho Marx and Dr. Doubletalk. The wonder is that the English language survived it, kind of.

Sparky Anderson was no slouch at this linguistic sport, either. When he entered a sentence, there was no telling where or if he'd come out. When he wasn't leading the Cincinnati Reds or Detroit Tigers to their triumphs in the World Series, he maintained a tenuous hold on the language, which would regularly escape from his uncertain grasp. It happened often enough for his wife to suggest that he take grammar lessons. But he demurred. As he recalled on being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, "I told her it ain't gonna help me. Or should I say, 'It ain't gonna help me none'?"

Perhaps it's just as well Sparky never paid overmuch attention to the finer linguistic points. To reform the language of Berra, Stengel and Anderson -- the linguistic version of Tinker to Evers to Chance -- would have been an act of desecration. You might as well cavil at Dizzy Dean's classic description of how Phil Rizzuto slud into second base.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. David Barham, editorial writer there, contributed to this column. Send your comments by clicking here.

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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