I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m ready to talk about it. I have something to say. Ahem.
You are totally going to fall in love with Ned Yost.
Wait, just hear me out… OK, I’ll wait until you stop laughing. Ned Yost… Seriously, stop laughing. I have all the time… I’ll just wait until you… All right, if you can’t be a grown-up about this…
You’re totally going to fall in love with Ned Yost — for several reasons, not the least of which is you’re not going to get to fall in love with any other manager for the rest of the season. When Doug
Melvin announced “We’re going for it” this year, it pretty much guaranteed Yost would continue as the manager. If they miss the playoffs, he’s done. But as long as the Brewers are playing baseball in 2008, he will be the skipper.
Before the C.C. trade, there was a considerable amount of controversy as to whether Yost would remain the manager. The Crew was playing well below their potential, and the entire city was calling for his head. Once they got back above .500, those chowderheads clammed up. And once
the team acquired Sabathia, the message was clear: this is the sorry bunch of scallywags that has been cosigned to lead us into uncharted waters.
And this cracker will be their captain. All those “Ned haters” forgot all too quickly we have a playoff team (they’re probably the same clamorers longing for the return of a certain quarterback who shall not be named in these pages). To Time Warp for a second, Ned was on the beloved 1982 World Series team — the best team ever to lose a championship. In late September of that season, he hit his only home run of the year over the Green Monster to give the Crew a 4-game lead with 5 games to play.
Last year, the team won 83 games — the most since 1992. They’re in contention every year now, but for some reason Yost never gets to share in the credit heaped on the young players, and the front office and owner who acquired them. Maybe people with feel more positive about Yost after Jeff Bridges’ sympathetic portrayal of him in the movie version.
Many people see his willingness to experiment — with batting the pitcher eighth, platooning positions and possibly rotating Seth McClung and Dave Bush based on whether the team is playing in Miller Park — as indecision, but I think it falls into the “we’re just young enough; we’re just dumb enough to win this thing” argument. You’ll always get me on board with the “young enough; dumb enough” argument — because I believe achieving any personal success for myself will be the result of naïve ambition. He’s also clearly desperate to win for his job.
There’s other reasons to like the Yoster:
— He’s a graduate of Bobby Cox University. The Atlanta Braves made the playoffs in each of the 12 seasons he was there, except for 1994 of course.
— According to Wiki’a, he um… “briefly enjoyed a second career as a taxidermist in Jackson, Mississippi in between his playing days and coaching days.” So, uh… there’s that.
— He likes to get tossed out of games. This can be entertaining, à la Cox or Lou Piniella, but he hasn’t perfected the art to that level yet. It can also backfire.
— He’s a complete jerk to the media, and treats the Brewers beat reporters like idiots. But here’s the thing: I work in the media. Beat reporters are idiots. They’re lazy and dumb, and if they were good at anything else, they would be doing that instead. Especially baseball beat writers, who complain about things like games going into extra innings so they’re actually forced to write on a tight deadline.
— He wears the uniform number 3 in honor of Dale, Sr. Apparently, he was friends with the late Intimidator, and he occasionally worked as a “re-hydration engineer” for Earnhardt at NASCAR races. That either means he was the waterboy or they drank Budweisers together after the race.
— He’s the consummate sportsman. He enjoys hunting, which may explain the taxidermy and you can find him at Cabela’s, stringing up his bow.
Since I was young, I’ve always been fascinated by the “(blank) 4 Pres” signs at sporting events. I’d laugh and point out to my parents the absurdity of a “Mike Holmgren for President” signs I would see on TV. As if you would you elect a mere man — or even Michael Jordan — to lead the entire free world based on his success at a game! Imagine! Then I realized politics was itself a game, a blood sport of the highest order, and I thought about the current U.S. Congress, and it didn’t seem like such an absurd idea.
That’s why I’m setting my political preferences (Obamarama, Barack your face off) aside to announce a new campaign. The Vote Brewers! movement was a success, but it was just the primary. There’s a new campaign, and it’s going to be a barnburner. Yoster selected his running mate, sight unseen, for this ticket.
Like it or not, he’s the nominee. So here we go. Yost-Maddux ’08. We’ll see you in October.