Driving Mr. Yogi

If Yogi Berra is the son Casey Stengel never had (quote-off here), Ron Guidry is the son Yogi now has.

First, there was this Harvey Araton piece in the New York Times last year:

For Berra and Guidry, It Happens Every Spring

TAMPA, Fla. — With all the yearly changes made by the Yankees,Yogi Berra’s arrival at their spring training base adds a timeless quality to baseball’s most historic franchise.

Berra, the catching legend and pop culture icon, slips back into the uniform with the famous and familiar No. 8. He checks into the same hotel in the vicinity of George M. Steinbrenner Field and requests the same room. He plans his days methodically — wake up at 6 a.m., breakfast at 6:30, depart for the complex by 7 — and steps outside to be greeted by the same driver he has had for the past dozen years.

The driver has a rather famous name, and nickname, as well.

“It’s like I’m the valet,” said Ron Guidry, the former star pitcher known around the Yankees as Gator for his Louisiana roots. “Actually, I am the valet.”

The piece recounts in loving detail the Odd Couple relationship the two share.

Berra:

“He’s a good guy,” Berra, the Yankees’ 85-year-old honorary patriarch, said during an interview at his museum in Little Falls, N.J. “We hang out together in spring training.”

Guidry:

“See, I really love the old man, but because of what we share — which is something very special — I can treat him more as a friend and I can say, ‘Get your butt in my truck or you’re staying,’ ” Guidry said. “He likes that kind of camaraderie, wants to be treated like everybody else, but because of who he is, that’s not how everybody around here treats him.

“So I’ll say, ‘Yogi, tonight we’re going to Fleming’s, then to Lee Roy Selmon’s tomorrow, and then the night after that you stay in your damn room, have a ham sandwich or whatever, because the world doesn’t revolve around you and I’m taking a night off.’

Now Araton has written a book about the offbeat duo, and it’s getting an offbeat marketing push.

From Monday’s Wall Street Journal:

With Ad Push, Publisher Is Aiming for a Home Run on Yogi Berra Book

To market its coming nonfiction book, “Driving Mr. Yogi,” publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has two baseball legends stepping up to the plate: former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra and former Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry.

The publisher has set a $175,000 marketing budget for “a robust plan” for the book, said Carla Gray, director of adult marketing for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book, written by Harvey Araton, tells the story of the long-running friendship between Messrs. Berra and Guidry, and details Mr. Guidry’s unofficial role as Mr. Berra’s “chauffeur” during Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla., since 2000.

As part of its marketing push, the publisher paid for television advertisements within the VIP areas of Yankee Stadium, as well as ads during the live game feed. During pregame moments, there will be 20-second ads for the book on an LED screen next to a jumbo screen at the stadium.

In addition, ads will be placed on the LED screens that are posted throughout the stadium’s parking garages.

Ms. Gray said the strategy has been used with previous books and has been effective.

As Yogi might say, it’s déjà view all over again.

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4 Responses to Driving Mr. Yogi

  1. “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.” – Yogi Berra

  2. Is this about some NY team?

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