NEW YORK – Yogi Berra (search), the beloved Yankee catcher, is a natural -- and he'll have plenty to say about "The Natural" and other sports-centric films on his new weekly show, "Yogi and a Movie." (search)
Between commercial breaks each week on the show (which debuts tomorrow at 8 p.m. EDT on the Yankees' YES Network) the famed ballplayer muses about the sport he loves and how it relates to the movie of the week, much the same way the hosts on TBS' "Dinner and a Movie" pair food with a given film.
"Yogi is literally the perfect person for this, when you think about it," says YES production and programming chief John Filippelli. "These are sports movies, and he's been a true, one-of-a-kind, beloved icon for about 60 years now -- he gives an insider's perspective and an entertainment value to these movies that only he can in his own inimitable style."
The series kicks off tomorrow with "The Bad News Bears." Among the dozen or so films Yogi will host are "A League of Their Own," "Bang the Drum Slowly," "The Jackie Robinson Story," "The Babe" and "Paradise Alley."
"He lends a perspective to this that only he can give," says Filippelli. "He was the catcher at the plate in the 1955 World Series during that famous play at the plate where Jackie Robinson stole home -- I think Yogi to this day insists that Jackie was out."
Filippelli thought of offering Yogi the job when he remembered Berra hosting a series of one-minute syndicated movie reviews on TV in the 1980s.
It was while offering his opinion of "Fatal Attraction" that Yogi famously referred to the Oscar-nominated actress Glenn Close as Glen Cove.
"Yogi has always been a big movie guy," says David Kaplan, director of the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Montclair, N.J. "As a minor-leaguer, he says he saw 'Casablanca' and The Marx Brothers [films] in every minor-league city that he traveled to."