If you remotely follow baseball, you know that MLB has been wrestling with a rule change that will protect catchers from home plate collisions. It is this week’s lead story on MLB.com and the main topic of Buster Olney’s podcast. One might think this would be a benign, safe topic to broach with Ned Yost. Nope.
On Tuesday, Doug Stewart from 810 WHB, innocently asked Yost about the new changes. This was right after Yost was in a meeting about this very topic. Yost could not have been a bigger Richard. He did his very best to make Stewart’s question seem stupid, off topic and non sensical. After he spent enough time insulting the reporter and establishing his intellectual superiority, he actually answered the original question. ”You can’t barrel into the catcher, everything else is basically the same.”
This interaction begs some questions. Why couldn’t Ned had just answered that way off the bat? Why did he have to challenge the reporter, and tell the reporter there were no changes? Why did he have to act insulted and ticked off by a question the whole baseball world is asking?
The answer to those questions actually are in Ned’s eventual answer. That’s because Ned’s actual answer is at least incomplete, and pretty much wrong. (A big part of the rule change is the fact that the catcher can not block the plate at all if he does not have the ball in his glove. Players can run into the catcher but can not raise their forearms when colliding. It is a convoluted rule that needs clearing up, hence the need for such questions) It doesn’t seem like Ned understands the new rule. If he did, he would be sure to flex his knowledge all over the reporter. He’s insecure. People who are confident in their intellect don’t make others feel stupid. They do the opposite. Can you imagine Joe Maddon ever treating someone like Yost treats reporters? No, me neither.
What’s worse than him not understanding the rule, is that he doesn’t want to. Yost wants to exist in a time that is long gone. He gets mad when asked to learn new things. It’s why he loved Frenchie and Getzie. It’s why he admitted to leaving starters in games longer than he should have, so they could get the recorded win. He did this even if it increased risk of a loss for the actual team, and felt just great about it!
It comes as no surprise that Yost is close friends with Jeff Foxworthy. If you can’t understand basic rules at your job, celebrate your lack of knowledge, and have disdain for change, you might be a Red Neck. The cash strapped Rays have an intellectual, confident, warm, progressive savant as a manager. The Royals have a Red Neck.