It Ain’t Over

The background sound to my childhood was my mom listening to baseball games on a scratchy AM radio. The Yankees were the greatest, though our sentimental favorites were the home team, the Detroit Tigers. If you’re at all a fan of baseball or even of people whose larger-than-life character sparkles like a jewel, you won’t want to miss the new documentary about Yankee superstar Yogi Berra, It Ain’t Over (trailer). Not in a theater near you? Get it here.

Conceived and narrated by Yogi’s granddaughter Lindsay, the documentary’s seed was a 2015 All-Star Game tribute to “the four greatest living baseball players.” No question, the four selected in a popular poll should have been there—Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Johnny Bench, and Willie Mays. As the names were announced, Lindsay turned to Yogi and said, “What are you, dead?”

The documentary makes it abundantly clear that Berra should have been the fifth man on the field that day. He was an 18-time All Star. He had more MVPs than any of those others. More World Series rings than the four combined. Why wasn’t he there?

This documentary tries to answer that question. You see some of Yogi’s great plays. You hear sports broadcasters, other players, and friends—like Billy Crystal—weigh in. (It’s worth the price of admission just to bask in Derek Jeter’s smile.) And you’re reminded of Yogi’s famous sayings: “Nobody goes to that restaurant any more. It’s too crowded.” “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.” “You can observe a lot by watching.” “It ain’t over til it’s over,” and my favorite, “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.” On the surface, they may sound good for a laugh, but when you really think about it . . .

The commenters believe people got distracted by Yogi’s colorful speech, unathletic appearance, and outsized personality, all of which obscured what a fantastic ballplayer he was. Then, after his playing years, he was a successful coach. And all the while, he was a devoted family man, married 65 years to Carmen Short.

Yogi died later in 2015 at age 90. See it! You’ll feel good afterward.

Rotten Tomatoes critics rating: 98%; audiences: 96%.