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Yost tells his side of the story

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McClatchy-Tribune
September 17, 2008
— Ned Yost took the high road out of Milwaukee on Tuesday.

During a conference call with local reporters, Yost was given many opportunities to take shots at the Milwaukee Brewers, who fired him as manager the previous day with 12 games left in the season.


“I don’t agree with the decision, but I respect (general manager) Doug Melvin’s decision,” Yost said. “That’s what I always asked my players to do with my decisions.


“There’s no crying in baseball. Grown men make decisions, and grown men live with those decisions.”


Yost did say he was given no chance to save his job when meeting with Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio. Melvin said the previous day that Yost was asked for answers for the team’s 3-11 slide in September, and when he didn’t have any, the move was made to change to interim manager Dale Sveum.


“That’s not what happened,” Yost said. “I hadn’t even sat down on the couch and Doug said, ’We’re going to make a change.’


“Over the next 15 minutes, I did say that I didn’t have answers for what happened the last two weeks. It’s been difficult for everybody. I don’t know if this is going to do it. I really don’t.”


Yost said he was confident that he would have steered the Brewers to their first playoff berth since 1982 had he been allowed to finish the season.


“I put my heart and soul into this team for six years,” said Yost, who spoke from his residence in Milwaukee. “We were 16 games over .500. Nobody’s going to tell me we weren’t going to make the playoffs.”


Despite the decision to replace him, Yost said he’d be pulling for the team to make it to the post-season.


“If anybody thinks I have sour grapes and don’t want to them to succeed, they’re crazy,” Yost said. “I’ll be rooting for them with every inch of my body to win the wild card and go deep into the post-season and all the way to the World Series.”


As for the choice of Sveum, Yost said, “He’s as good a baseball coach as anybody I’ve ever met in my life. Those players trust him. Dale is a real calming influence, a steady guy. I don’t think they could have picked a better person to finish out the next 12 games.”


Sveum, in turn, credited the job that Yost did in putting the Brewers in position to go to the playoffs.


“He didn’t have two bad weeks,” Sveum said. “Our team had two bad weeks. Unfortunately, a good friend of mine got fired over it.”


After being selected to replace Yost, Sveum said he immediately placed a telephone call to the former manager.


“He was doing as well as he could with the situation,” he said. “It was very emotional. There was no doubt about. There was no advice given.”


Yost admitted that he might have been loyal to players who didn’t always produce for him but said “that’s my style.” He also conceded it was “a trend” that the team faded at the end both last year and this year and said he would do some soul-searching about it.


“Two years in a row, we have struggled in September, and I have to accept some responsibility,” he said. “My job is to get them to play the game the way you’re supposed to play it.


“I’ll have to delve real hard and think about why that happened. It can’t be coincidence.”


Asked if he thought Attanasio or Melvin made the primary decision to replace him, Yost said, “Does it matter? It doesn’t matter who made the decision. The decision was made.”


Yost said he got along with his players and expected to manage again. He said he never worried too much that he had become a lighting rod with a segment of the team’s fan base.


“My focus wasn’t on me,” he said. “My focus was on the team. That’s just my nature.”


Asked in retrospect what he might have done differently, Yost said, “I’ve given it all I’ve got. I’ve got nothing left.”



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