In 2008, Ned Yost found himself managing the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers, who had been moribund for years, had a winning season for the first time in fifteen years the season before. Now, Milwaukee was on the cusp of making the playoffs, and Yost was at the wheel. That is, until the Brewers lost eleven of fourteen games late in the year, leading to Yost being fired with twelve games left in the season.
You could forgive Yost if the tale of his tenure with the Royals seems to have a familiar storyline. Once again, he came over to a franchise long with young talent, but short on actual success in the victory column. And again, Yost took that young team, leading them to their first winning season in ten years. Once again, Yost was leading a team that appeared to be on the verge of playoff contention.
This season has been a roller coaster for Ned Yost. They have been in first place, and they fell to eight games back before going on their most recent surge back to the top of the Central. They won ten in a row and they got swept by the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox. Yost has looked like a solid manager at times, and then said things like how he is “just a fan” when the game begins. He can certainly be frustrating for fans and media alike.
Yet, Yost has his chance at redemption. The Royals have a legitimate chance at the playoffs, as the Tigers imploded after the trade deadline. Billy Butler, Nori Aoki and the Royals offense have all started to heat up. The bullpen has been a major weapon, as Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland have been the best trio of relievers in baseball. The starting pitching has done everything, and more, than has been expected of them this season.
All of this has given Ned Yost a chance to get back to the postseason for the first time since his playing days. After the way that his previous run at ending his personal 32 year postseason drought, this season has to be especially gratifying. Even with the consternation at some of his moves, or lack thereof, Yost still has guided the Royals to first place, and as of right now, a playoff berth.
Ned Yost has his chance for redemption, taking a lowly franchise and helping to guide it into a playoff caliber squad. This time, Yost is leading the Royals back to what will hopefully be a Blue October.