How Ned Yost Created A ‘No Fear’ Atmosphere
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost empoweres his players to take risks, which enabled Eric Hosmer‘s now-iconic score that tied up Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. In Tim Kurkjian’s fabulous “oral history” of Hosmer’s Mad Dash on ESPN.com, he wrote:
"“Hosmer went on his own because that’s what the Royals preach — use your instincts and what we taught you. Manager Ned Yost said he used a bunt sign only four times in 2015; all other bunts were done on their own by the players. Over the past four years, Yost said he has not put on one straight steal sign. Every decision to steal was ultimately made by the baserunner.”"
Ned Yost, and the entire KC Royals organization, spent years getting blasted for tactical mistakes. I did it as much as anyone (yeah I know, my regular readers are probably getting tired of my mea culpas for calling Yost “The Village Idiot of Managers” in 2014). Yet, if the above statement is true (and I don’t know any reason why Yost, or Kurkjian, made it up), then many of the poor tactical decisions of the past can be attributed to the “growing pains” of a team learning how to play such a free-wheeling brand of baseball.
Perhaps this little bit of coaching revealed in Kurkjian’s piece will help explain how the KC Royals got where they are today:
"The night before [in Game 4], we had runners at first and third. I was on third. Duda dropped a pickoff throw to first. He went to pick it up and misplayed it a little bit. I faked a break to the plate. I thought about going home. I came back to third and Jirsch [third base coach Mike Jirschele] had a little smirk on his face like, “You could have gone home on that play.”"
Next: The Benefits Of Baseball Without Fear