KANSAS CITY -- Ned Yost was a backup catcher in his playing career, certainly never an All-Star, and when he first became a Major League coach, he looked forward to Midsummer Classic only as a terrific three-day break in the season. But after Atlanta manager Bobby Cox invited Yost to be on his staff for the 1996 All-Star Game, his perception changed. He had a terrific time.
This year, Yost, as manager of the host Royals, was invited to be on American League manager Ron Washington's coaching staff for the July 10 game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
"I've been in this game a long time. I've been to the World Series six times, this will be my fifth All-Star Game. My fondest memories of my career come from the All-Star Games. The World Series are great, but there's so much work and so much goes on that you don't get to enjoy it," Yost said.
Yost was on the National League staff in 1996, '97, 2000 and '05. He calls the game a unique experience for the participants -- "Not only as a coach or as a player, but as a dad."
His three sons -- Ned IV, Josh and Andrew -- accompanied him to the All-Star Game workouts and festivities when they were younger.
"All my boys were in uniform and out on the field. It was great," Yost said.
Especially for the boys.
"Tremendous -- it was great memories for them. They would come in the locker room and everybody would get autographs, at least they did back then. The players get them. It's like the World Series. They've got a room set up and it takes you three or four hours to sign everything," Yost recalled.
"The kids would get up early and I'd take them to FanFest. Then we'd go to the workout, they'd put on a jersey and go shag for the workout. That was back in the day when the kids would shag for the Home Run Derby -- they loved that."
His oldest son, Ned IV, now a coach in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, got a special treat when the All-Star Game was at Atlanta in 2000.
"Ned, who was a junior in high school at the time, was the American League bullpen catcher. So he warmed up [Tim] Hudson, [Mariano] Rivera, all the pitchers, plus he caught Home Run Derby," Yost said.
"The winner was Sammy Sosa, the pitcher was Chino [Cadahia, a coach] and Ned was catching. So every time they replay the Home Run Derbies, you see Ned catching. So he got to be a real big part of it all. The kids absolutely loved it. I imagine this year you'll see a lot of kids running around, because it's a great time to experience it with your dad."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.