Yes, I realize that this commentary is probably the complete opposite of what one would expect. I have been vocal about my lack of faith in Ned Yost, even saying it was time to get rid of him after his quote that he is “just a fan” once the game begins. However, that does not mean that I cannot admit that he has steered the Royals on the correct path over the past few weeks. Likewise, that does not mean that I cannot admit when Yost says something that is correct.
In a way, Yost’s folksy ways and possible subtle sarcasm get him in trouble when seeing his quotes. He says things that are thoroughly infuriating, yet he also seems to say whatever is on his mind. That happened last night, when he called out Royals fans for not showing up to their thrilling 2-1 walkoff victory last night.
“We’re in a pennant race, yeah. We’ve been working on trying to build this team for the last three or four years to put ourselves in a position where we can contend for a championship. And not only the division, but we want to contend for a world championship. It’s really, really important we have our fans behind us at the stadium,” Yost said.
Ned Yost continued on the the same vein, ending his rant by talking about the crowds when he was a coach with the Atlanta Braves and saying “I just wish there could’ve been more out here to enjoy it with us.” While Yost may be looking back on the crowds in Atlanta with rose colored glasses and a bit of revisionist history, the fact of the matter remains that he is absolutely correct.
The Kansas City Royals are a first place team. They deserve to be drawing more than 13, 847 fans to the ballpark. Yes, it may have been a school night, but that is no excuse when the pathetic Houston Astros manage to outdraw the Royals. Yes, those same Astros that are already scheduling their tee times for October brought in more fans than a team that will be playing playoff baseball. Yost has a right to complain about the lack of attendance.
This is not the team from 2003, relying upon career seasons from a collection of baseball vagabonds, one year wonders and enough miracles to ensure that Tony Pena will be canonized after his death. This is a team of players with a proven track record, a legitimate MVP candidate in Alex Gordon and the pitching and defense to make this run sustainable. The Royals have a record high payroll, over $90 Million this year. Since fans want the Royals to spend money, and to keep their players, there is really one way to let ownership know that their efforts are being appreciated. Get to the ballpark.
I know this is not something that I say often, but Ned Yost is right. The Royals need more games of 30, 000+ fans. It’s time that the excitement of the fanbase translates to the attendance at Kauffman Stadium.