As an editor for Royals Review, I see an awful lot of fan feedback even beyond what our readers contribute in the comment section below each post. I have seen some stuff, man. On more than one occasion, we have had people message our Facebook page thinking that we are the Kansas City Royals organization.* Every vaguely racist or sexist opinion that a fan could have? Seen it. The best and worst trade ideas sincerely offered? Seen both.
*SPOILER: we are not. Do not make us attempt to hit a 70 MPH fastball, let alone a 95 MPH one. There would be hospital trips involved.
Of course, not every opinion, comment, or response I read is bad. It’s just that there’s a lot of those, and so the bad ones stick out. Regardless, I have a pretty good finger on the pulse of Royals fans pretty much all the time. And at the moment, a lot of you are super unhappy with Ned Yost and want him fired for...reasons?
That makes no sense, you guys. Why is this a thing?
Yes, Yost’s decision to lead Salvador Perez to run in the game on Tuesday directly cost the Royals the go-ahead run. Yes, Yost is not the most tactically adept manager. The Milwaukee Brewers fired Yost in the middle of September in 2008 in an unprecedented move in part because the team was flailing and management was searching for a Hail Mary to launch them back in contention, and in part because Yost’s managerial decisions were inept. Yes, Yost bungled bullpen management so badly in a game in Septmber 2014 that Shaun Newkirk articulately argued why the Royals should fire him.
And remember the Wild Card Game? Yost almost threw away the game with a truly stupid decision, that decision being relieving James Shields with 23-year-old Yordano Ventura in his first MLB relief appearance instead of the bullpen arm with a 1.41 ERA and four years of MLB bullpen experience in Kelvin Herrera. By all accounts, the Royals should have lost that game, as Ventura promptly gave up a three-run, go-ahead bomb to Brandon Moss and litter the bases with even more batters for Herrera to clean up anyway.
Yost ultimately learned from his mistakes. Throughout the rest of the 2014 and 2015 playoffs, Yost aggressively utilized his hilariously talented collection of bullpen arms to shut down opposing offenses as early as the fourth inning. For his troubles, Yost won the prize: a World Series ring as a manager. Furthermore, Yost’s use of his bullpen in the 2014 and 2015 playoffs will likely turn out to be a watershed moment in playoff bullpen utilization strategy.
That hasn’t stopped fans from turning on him this season. The following is a collection of replies to our Twitter and Facebook pages regarding the good ol’ manager.
Ned needs to go.
If the Royals don’t unload Ned at the conclusion of the season, the Royals organization will hemorrhage season ticket holders.
No he can’t. Fire Yost
The only thing we care about is....fire Yost and Moore
What value is Ned bringing to this current ball club? Does the coaching staff have the ability to develop a young bunch of players ?
Awesome, So Ned is stealing money just like most of the players on the roster
Ned needs committed. Dayton too. I won’t even watch Maurer pitch. I change the channel.
Fire Yost extended Moore
Time to release Yost and bring someone else that can take this so called young rebuilding team to the next level of winning. Yost is stuck in his ways and he’s not opening his mind to see what he has. He did his job there and time to move on.
The team won in spite of Ned’s inept managing. Oh, not to mention a bit of luck too.
I have been screaming about it, guess many others are numb. Ned needs to go, get the player purge done ASAP including Esky and his 8/90 hot streak
Yes, Yost still makes plenty of dumb decisions. Remember when Yost refused to use Jorge Soler as a pinch hitter on two separate occasions, one of which would have been for Ryan freaking Goins, in a game where the Royals lost by one run? Remember Tuesday? Remember when Alcides Escobar kept trotting out to shortstop every single game because reasons?
That’s all well and good, but there are two truths relating to managers that you should always consider: one, that managers have significantly less impact than the talent of the players they’re managing do, and two, that pretty much every manager acts in a similar fashion.
In Yost’s case, it is not his fault that Brandon Maurer, Justin Grimm, Ryan Goins, or Escobar were on the roster. The bullpen is not bad because Yost isn’t maneuvering his guys into the proper spots. The bullpen is bad because it is filled with minor league talent and useless veterans. Maurer and Company are going to make any manager look dumb. Wanting to fire Yost for Maurer’s existence and eventual use on the roster is like yelling at the cashier for the grocery store raising the price of milk.
Furthermore, what good would firing Yost do? This is a rebuilding team that is focused on continuity and teaching players how to become good baseball players. Would you rather have first time manager, wild card, hardass Jason Kendall at helm? How about a guy who is totally keen with the idea of bullying—excuse me, hazing—excuse me, veteran leadership—done openly on his team? Nobody cares how many wins this team gets, or next year, or maybe even the year after that. People care about the players. If nothing else, Yost has proved himself to be a steady hand, a respected figure in the clubhouse, and a professional voice in helping young players coalesce into something great.
You’re of course entitled to your opinion, but I would caution you that firing Yost is not going to do the thing you think it will. In reality, that would do...nothing. The team will still be bad. It may even be worse without such a dependable pro managing young players looking for leadership.
Managers get an inordinate amount of credit for the success of the team, and the reverse is true as well. That’s just how it is. Yost is fine.