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Another Casey, much more entertaining

How about a column on Casey Anthony?

Let’s don’t but say we did.

“Let’s don’t, but say we did” was the first thing that popped into my mind recently when I saw a question asked. What question? Who will play Casey Anthony in the movie? I thought to myself; why do we have to have a movie about her? Haven’t we had enough? Let’s don’t, but say we did!

I watched hardly any of the trial although there was plenty of talk about it. There was, however, that moment when the jury was to return with the verdict that interested me. Remember O.J.? Although I knew very little about the case, I acknowledged the popularity of the subject and figured that it would be interesting to hear the verdict.

As it turned out, it was a surprising verdict and lots of people went ballistic. Most people seemed to have judged her guilty of something. She had been painted as a “hussy” by plenty of people, but there doesn’t seem to be a law against being a “hussy.”

However, a 2-year-old daughter who was missing a whole month before she was reported and, later, turned up dead in a plastic bag in a swamp was just a little too much to swallow. As Shakespeare wrote, something was rotten in Denmark or Orlando.

My brother is a lawyer and has this saying that he speaks to his clients after they have given him the perfunctory “I’m innocent” opening. He quickly tells them that they might not be guilty of this particular crime, but they are certainly not innocent! Casey Anthony might not have been guilty of first-degree murder, but she was not innocent.

Now when we see the name Casey, we immediately follow with Anthony. Yet, there are other Caseys and they have much more to offer than the one who has filled our newscasts for the past few months. Let me tell you about my Casey.

Last year about this time, I wrote a column about baseball and Yogi Berra. The All-Star game had primed my pump for writing about what once was my favorite sport. Funny how quickly time slips away, but it’s back, the All-Star game, that is.

One of the greatest characters in all of baseball lore was known as simply Casey. Once someone could say the name Casey and Stengel, the last name, was not necessary. Much like Yogi needed no Berra, Whitey needed no Ford, and Mickey needed no Mantle, Casey needed no Stengel.

Casey was born in 1890 and when he was named skipper of the Yankees, he was almost 60 years old. That was in 1949 and he would manage baseball’s premier team for a dozen years with unprecedented success. In those dozen years, his Yankee teams won the American League championship 10 times. He won the World Series seven times.

He was “involuntarily retired” in 1960 after his team lost a seven-game World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees told him he was too old. Upon hearing that Casey gave one of his convoluted or funny retorts.

“They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program as an advance way of keeping the club going. I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again.”

Stengel was famous for his naturally funny way of saying things; just like his catcher on his Yankee teams, Yogi. He thought of Yogi as, perhaps, the most important player on his team. Not the most talented, but the most important because of his position, catcher. He also thought Yogi was pretty sharp. “Yogi could fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch.”

Casey said about catchers. “You have to have a catcher because if you don’t you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.” Ya think?

He thought his most physically gifted player was Mickey Mantle. He was also the one most likely to get in trouble for his nightly habits of drinking and carousing. Casey cut him some slack; perhaps because he was a lot like The Mick.

Casey told his players “Don’t drink in the hotel bar. That’s where I do my drinking.” He also didn’t mind his players having too much fun. He said of their carousing, “Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It’s staying up all night looking for one that does him in.”

He also said this about drinking. “I came in here and a fella asked me to have a drink. I said I don’t drink. Then another fella said I hear you and Joe Dimaggio aren’t speaking and I said I’ll take that drink.”

By the time this Casey retired, he was revered for his entertaining phrases.

Here are a few:

“There comes a time in every man’s life and I’ve had plenty of them.”

“If anyone wants me, tell them I’m being embalmed.”

“It’s wonderful to meet so many friends that I didn’t used to like.”

“Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.”

Casey Stengel was 85 years old when he died in 1975. He had contributed to our national pastime, as baseball was once called, for 65 of those years. He was respected, loved, funny and added greatly to this country of ours. When I think of Casey, I want it to be Stengel and not Anthony.