YOU CAN’T HIT AND THINK AT THE SAME TIME

1. It’s Wednesday, September 23, 2015.

2. It’s fall. Phooey.

3. It’s Yom Kippur. Jews around the world use this day to reflect on what they’ve done and how to square that with what they think God wants them to do.

I’ve always thought the idea of a day of atonement is something that all of us, no matter what our faith or lack of faith, should consider. A day to focus, completely and without even the respite of eating, on how we conduct ourselves in the world and whether or not it is in accordance with how we believe we should.

I hope my Jewish friends find peace and resolution in their reflection on this special day.

4. By the way, it is a gorgeous day in New York. My devoutly Catholic Dad once told me that it never rains on Yom Kippur because people have to walk to the synagogue to pray.

5. Pope Francis is at the White House for the start of his U.S. adventure. He’s already talking about how immigrants helped build this nation, which means this is going to be a long week for the wall builders.

6. Yogi Berra’s body died last night. His spirit, his legend, his heart, his place in baseball history, his way with words and his stature among the greatest Italian Americans will never die.

I’m proud to have joined more than 100,000 other Americans in petitioning the White House earlier this year to have Yogi receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The White House said it couldn’t comment on whether any individual would be honored in the future – the award is usually given in groups every three years, with the next one likely in 2016. But the response goes on as follows:

We can, however, say that throughout his career as a Hall-of-Fame catcher for the New York Yankees and beyond, Yogi Berra has done a lot more than hit and think at the same time. He demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and character on his way to winning 13 World Series championships as a player and manager (note: he won 10 rings as a player and three as a coach), with each new title feeling like déjà vu all over again. He served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II — including the D-Day invasion, and has established himself as an advocate for civil rights, education, and inclusion of the LGBT community in sports.

He’s demonstrated many of the qualities of past Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, so — as he might say — it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Yogi’s body has passed. But his greatness never will. I still hope his name is included in the next batch of Medal of Freedom winners.

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