The Royals record on May 13th, 2010 stood at 11-23 and they were mired in a stretch where they had lost 9 out of 11 games. In what had become a standard joke, the Royals were already looking at a season in which “next year” was going to be the phrase of the day.
To stem the growing unrest of fans, General Manager Dayton Moore mercifully fired then head coach Trey Hillman. Hillman was a hot ticket item when the Royals got ahold of him out of Japan, but never managed to catch on, and was ultimately became a scapegoat as the promise once again didn’t match the talent.
Enter Edgar “Ned” Yost III. The writing on the wall was there for Hillman after Yost was hired as a “special assistant.”
Ned became the 19th manager in Kansas City Royals history, and took over managing in an organization known for its decades of losing. This might sound like a daunting task, and it certainly is, but Yost had experience with just such a situation when he succeeded Jerry Royster as the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. Fast forward to 2007, and Yost was ultimately fired before ever reaping the rewards of his work in Milwaukee with 12 games left in the first playoff season for the Brewers since 1982. He had coached the better part of six seasons, and was let go 12 games before the playoffs.
Yost’s tenure in Kansas City is one that has mirrored his time in Milwaukee in many ways. He has taken a young team, ripe with expectations, and managed to start winning games. The largest difference, of course, is in 2014 instead of being fired before the playoffs, he rode a team all the way to the World Series, along the way becoming the first manager to ever win the first eight consecutive playoff games.
Yost finished a respectable 3rd for the 2014 manager of the year and managed to secure a contract extension to remain with Kansas City through the 2016 season. Even before 2014, Yost had presided over the Royals first winning record in a decade when he managed to finish 10 games above .500 in 2013 and giving fans something to feel good about.
Roses and daises right? Think again.
It has come full circle for Nedly.
Ned Yost has endured a fanbase about as jaded as anyone could expect. When mired in three decades of losing, the skipper often becomes an easy target. With his seemingly thick skin, Ned Yost, in many ways, was the perfect choice to become the next Royals manager.
He had been unpopular during his time with the Brewers, and yet, here he was back for more. Even as recently as last September, fans were calling for his head on a platter . Even WE were hoping he would get the same treatment as he did in Milwaukee.
What is it that manages to isolate Ned from his fanbases? There are certainly many things, but it would seem first and foremost the simple answer is…he just doesn’t care what people think. Ned has gone through his tenure as Royals manager with one single goal. Do what he thinks is best for his players.
Send Moose to the minors? No way. Never going to happen. Fans went CRAZY when Ned gave an explanation of third baseman trees and seemed to legitimately be proclaiming that Moose was the man for the job. Everyone KNEW this was an absurdity, but still Yost stuck to his guns. Yost believed in his guy, and even if there had been a decision already made that he was going down, he wasn’t going to put it out there for him to be ridiculed.
Ned continued to rake in the criticism. And on many MANY occasions, rightfully so. There have been many times in the last 6 years where Yost has made an incredibly bone headed move, or done something that seemed to most certainly lose a critical game that has sent fans into almost a rage. The hardest part for Royals fans was to realize….all managers do. This was something that was observed during Kansas City’s playoff run, constant mistakes by the opposing managers.
Winning seems to cure all things. Yost managed to take the futile Kansas City Royals to the World Series. He is now the winningest manager in Royals history (411) after last night’s 3-2 win, ironically against the team that fired him – the fourth straight win against them.
After such a successful year, fans everyone find themselves using the terms ‘Yosted’ and ‘Because Ned’ a little less. And, when used, the connotation is no longer negative. Because, even when Ned does something that leads us to use such terms, it still works.
The Royals have the best record in the American League and are the defending American League Champions. He must be doing something right?
Yost’s greatest strength and most glaring weakness has always been his undying loyalty to the players on his team. Through thick and thin he has stuck by their side when most anyone else would have surely cast them off for something more shiny. Maybe one of the reasons the Royals have had so much success recently is because Yost’s boss has that exact same trait.
Cheers to you Ned. You deserve it. Well done, and here’s to another 411 wins (for the Royals of course).
We’ll go and apologize. We were wrong about you.
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