Yankees play two on Yogi's birthday

Yankees play two on Yogi's birthday

DETROIT -- What might Yogi Berra want more on his 85th birthday than to watch the Yankees play? Thanks to Mother Nature, the Hall of Fame catcher will get a chance to see his beloved Bombers take the field twice.

A three-time American League MVP and 10-time World Series champion, Berra was born on this date in 1925 in St. Louis, Mo. The legend still keeps close tabs on the Yankees, attending Spring Training as a celebrity instructor and checking in for many home games at Yankee Stadium.

"I called him this morning and said, just for him, we're going to fill his whole day," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He can watch at 1 o'clock and go to his dinner and then come back and watch us again. We did that just for him. He was laughing."

Girardi said that Berra, who resides in Montclair, N.J., has a late-afternoon dinner planned with his grandchildren, and that he sounded "excited about it." He had called ahead to make sure the restaurant would have TVs to watch the Yankees play.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter takes joy in ribbing Berra whenever he gets the opportunity -- he especially likes to tell Berra that his five World Series rings were tougher to get than Berra's 10, because of the expanded playoff structure -- and said that it's always special when Berra shuffles through the clubhouse doors.

"It means a lot to everybody," Jeter said. "We're pretty spoiled in this organization, getting to talk to a lot of the old-time players and getting to know them. I'm a historian of our team, so it's something that not a lot of teams can say about the history of our organization."

"It's great. He's just fun to be around," added Andy Pettitte. "When you think of the Yankees, you think of all the names, and obviously Yogi is one of them that you idolize. This guy is larger than life almost. That's awesome. He's just got a great spirit about him and a great attitude. I love to see him come around."

As for birthday wishes, Jeter and Pettitte both smiled when informed it was Berra's 85th birthday.

"It's a big one. I'd just say, happy birthday, and I hope he's got a bunch more," Pettitte said.

"I'll have to think of something funny for him," Jeter said. "I'm sure I'll think of something by the time I see him."

That gives Jeter a little time to get ready, and Berra might come by the Stadium this weekend as the Yankees begin a new homestand.

"It's awesome having Yogi around," Girardi said. "I love it. It's a privilege and you understand that you're in the presence of one of the greatest players who ever played. He's one of the greatest Yankees of all-time."