Eric Hosmer strolled to the plate Thursday night in the bottom of the 7th inning of a 1-run game. The Blue Jays’ Mark Buehrle had just been removed from the game and was replaced by Aaron Loup. With two outs and nobody on base, this was a big spot for Hosmer. He had an opportunity to change the complexion of the entire game. And then… he bunted.
I can’t imagine, for a second, Ned Yost called for a bunt in that situation. If he did, the Royals are in a lot more trouble than we believe. But if this was a decision Hosmer made on his own, it’s just as worrisome. The fact that bunting ever crossed Hosmer’s mind is downright frightening. It’s bad enough that Yost calls for a bunt every chance he gets. But when that kind of thinking starts rubbing off on your players, it’s a lose/lose situation.
Ned Yost’s outdated baseball thinking is apparently contagious. Because Thursday night, Hosmer was infected.
It used to be fun to mock Ned Yost for his arrogance. As unfounded as that arrogance may have been, it was always fun to watch it unfold in his post-game interviews. He is 100% sure that he’s the smartest guy in the room.
He believes he has forgotten more about baseball than anyone else knows. If that’s not the way he truly feels, that’s certainly the impression you get as he shows off his surly demeanor and condescending answers.
All that post-game fun turned into something a little more serious after the Royals lost a heartbreaker to the Orioles last Saturday night, 3-2 in 10 innings. But the loss was just the beginning of Ned’s epic evening.
After the game, Ned was asked why his closer, Greg Holland, didn’t pitch. Ned’s response was that he’ll never use Holland in a tie game on the road. Andy McCullough of the KC Star then asked why he allowed Holland to pitch in a tie game against the Tigers (in Detroit) earlier this year. Ned’s reply? “Because I really wanted to win that game Opening Day.”
This is where you feel like you’ve just ingested some crazy pills, right?
Yes, you read that correctly. Even the simplest of rationale infers that Ned Yost didn’t really care about winning Saturday night’s game. This is what Royals fans have come to expect from their fearless manager. Arrogance, irrationality and above all…arrogance. Oh, and arrogance.
Yost was fired from the Brewers with just two weeks remaining in the 2008 season. At the time of his firing, his team was leading the Wild Card race. What does that tell you about their confidence level in him as manager?
Listen, not pitching Holland in a tie game on the road isn’t the worst decision anyone has ever made. Lots of big-league managers stick to that belief (as ridiculous as it may be).
For him to continue to be so cavalier about his in-game decisions is actually offensive. It’s offensive to the organization. It’s offensive to the fans. And most importantly, it’s offensive to his team.
The Royals roster is full of young players who are still trying to learn how to win games. How are they supposed to learn if their manager doesn’t even know how? They need a manager to lead them to wins. Not some confrontational “baseball man” that is content with doing things his way, regardless of the outcome.
It used to be fun. But it’s not funny anymore. Playtime is over. The Royals have to find someone that wants to win every game. Not just Opening Day games.