It is what it is, or is it? |

It is what it is, or is it?

By Steve Yingling

Tribune sports editor

Boy, how times have changed since Crash Davis tipped off ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh on what answers to give the baseball media in “Bull Durham.”

The Crash Davis of 2008 would certainly update his list of standard answers by adding “It is what it is.”

We’ve all heard it and many of us have used it.

My wife commonly uses it to address things we can’t change.

Our real estate agent, Scott Pearce, used it to describe the current state of the real estate market.

Now that baseball season is here, look out. You’ll probably here it once a night.

In fact, it hasn’t taken long for baseball types to pick up on what is becoming the hottest cliché of 2008. Right now, it’s at the management level.

Andy MacPhail, the Baltimore Orioles’ president of baseball operations, rattled off the five worn-out words to describe how the media speculates about who will be involved in a trade. The Orioles have been considering a trade of second baseman Brian Roberts to the Cubs.

“I’m not a big one for speculating about names,” MacPhail told “To me, there’s family issues, (and) there’s personal issues I’d rather not put them through. If it were up to me, that stuff would not become public knowledge. You guys do a good job ferreting this stuff out. It is what it is.”

Strangely, none of the players brought up in the Mitchell Report for using performance-enhancing drugs have used the cliché. Maybe they need new representation. By the time Roger Clemens is done pleading his innocence, he might want to cop the line.

Cabrillo College men’s basketball coach Tony Marcopulos modified the new cliché in describing Jared Wood being the team’s fourth or fifth option on offense.

“He is what he is,” Marcopulos said. “You want him to be one of the top three scorers. But if you treat him as a fourth or fifth option, he will probably kill you by knocking in two, three or four (three-pointers).”

Poor J.B. Holmes could have used the remark after Tiger Woods rallied from three down to win their golf match Wednesday in the Match Play Championship.

“I just said, ‘Don’t do anything stupid. Make him beat you.’ And he did. What do you do,” Holmes told the Associated Press.

Wouldn’t have “It is what it is” been more succinct and left Holmes with more time to get out of town.

There is hope. Democratic Party hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t utter the five words during their debate Thursday night in Austin, Texas.

I can’t wait for the day that “It is what it is” has worn out its welcome and become “It was what it was.”

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or

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