8 Pop Culture References to Yogi Berra's "It Ain't Over Till It's Over"
Baseball giant Yogi Berra died yesterday at age 90, and beyond his legacy as a Hall of Famer, he left behind a number of Yogi-isms that long ago seeped into the cultural lexicon. One of them, "It ain't over till it's over," was an offhanded remark made during the 1973 season when the Mets were in last place during the pennant race. Against all odds, Berra helped manage the team back to the top, and the Mets won that year's division title. The never-say-never optimism of Berra's words resonated, and the phrase was—to put it in baseball terms—a home run.
Here are eight examples, in honor of Berra's retired number '8' Yankees jersey, of pop culture pep talks based on Berra's famous phrase.
1. LENNY KRAVITZ // “IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER”
Lenny Kravtiz’s soulful ballad from 1991 took Yogi’s words from the ball field and applied them to the bedroom—he and his amour might be “playing games with love” and crying over it, but did they give up? No. Here they are, still together. 'Cause baby, it ain’t over till it’s over.
2. DANIEL // LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)
“You’ve seen the films, kiddo,” Liam Neeson’s character tells his lovesick son in Love Actually, urging him to go after his Mariah Carey-belting crush, Joanna. “It ain’t over till it’s over.” The pep talk worked. “OK, dad,” young Sam replies, his hopes renewed. “Let’s do it. Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.” Attaboy!
3. ROCKY BALBOA // ROCKY BALBOA (2006)
You know who doesn’t know when to quit? Rocky. That’s why he came out of retirement for a sixth movie and the chance to fight the current heavyweight champion. When the younger boxer—the unfortunately named Mason “The Line” Dixon—lets him know, pre-fight, that he doesn’t stand a chance, Rocky espouses some Yogi wisdom on him. “What’s that from, the '80s?” Dixon asks. “That’s probably the '70s,” Rocky smirks. Kids these days.
4. ROSE CASTORINI // MOONSTRUCK (1987)
“Snap out of it!” might be the most famous line from this 1987 romantic comedy about a woman looking for love, but the better advice came from—where else?— the Italian mother. When Loretta goes moping to her hard-nosed mother about being 37 and making plans for her marriage of convenience, it wasn’t going to fly. “I didn’t have [your brother] until after I was 37,” her ma replies. “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Turns out she was right. Loretta meets the equally high-strung Ronny (Nicolas Cage) later that day, they end up together after a rom-com full of missteps, and Cher and Olympia Dukakis won Oscars for their roles. Salute!
5. DJ KHALED // “IT AIN’T OVER TIL IT’S OVER”
In 2011, the Miami DJ recruited Mary J. Blige to sing the chorus for his ode to resilience and moving on. “Just when I thought I said all there was to say,” she croons, “I get the last word—It ain’t over till it’s over.”
6. JIM RAYNOR // STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY
In 2010, 12 years after the original StarCraft video game, Blizzard Entertainment released this three-installment sequel. The real-time sci-fi strategy game follows mercenary captain Jim Raynor as he comes back to save the day against the emperor Arcturus Mengsk, who has declared him an “unscrupulous, lawless revolutionary.” Raynor will have none of that. “It ain’t over till it’s over, you son of a …” he growls as he shoots his monitor. Them’s fightin’ words.
7. BLUTO // ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)
John Belushi’s terribly inaccurate motivational speech is riddled with clichés, but “It ain’t over” is a hard rallying cry from which to back down, especially when you’re a frat full of recently suspended, hungover college kids. And you know what, he’s right! “Psychotic, but absolutely right.” The tough get going!
8. BUCK BOKAI // STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE
In the 1993 episode “If Wishes Were Horses,” the crew’s thoughts suddenly manipulate themselves into manifestations, such as a Rumpelstiltskin and, fittingly, a long-dead baseball player named Buck Bokai. Apparently the universe has done away with the game, but the switch-hitting third baseman hasn’t given up on connecting with the Commander who imagined him into existence. “It ain’t over till it’s over,” he tells the other manifestations, affecting Yogi’s deep drawl.