Oct. 20 Ned Yost workout day interview

Oct. 20 Ned Yost workout day interview

Q. Now that your players have been through eight postseason games, how different is the World Series from the games they've just played?

NED YOST: It's no different. They're all big games. They're all exciting games. You know you're fighting to climb that ladder, boom, boom, boom, and this is no different. But this is final, you know? This is the last big series, and there are two teams left standing, which is special.

I think it's a great match up between both clubs. I think that both teams are ready for this, and it's very exciting.

Q. As a manager, how different does it make your job in terms of assembling the roster and deciding what you want to do with players, the fact that you know you'll have to play some National League baseball?

NED YOST: It's a little bit different, but not a whole lot. I think for the most part we're built like a National League team a little bit with the speed and the defense and the versatility that we have, so I think it will be easy choices.

Q. With the little time you were away from the game after Milwaukee, before you got back in here, did you allow yourself to dream that this could happen, that you would manage in the World Series?

NED YOST: No, no. I didn't allow myself. I didn't do it. I didn't think about it. Most of that time spent was figuring out what I could do better the next time.

Q. Are you a different manager?

NED YOST: Yeah, I'm completely different.

Q. In what ways?

NED YOST: Just completely different, I think. I've learned to let my players be themselves. I'm every bit as patient as I was back then. I think I'm also, because I have great coaches, I think I listen a lot more than I did back then. I'm pretty hard headed, a little more flexible, and use the tremendous experience we have in our coaching staff to my benefit and our benefit.

Q. What stands out to you about Bumgarner?

NED YOST: Oh, man. He's extremely competitive. He's fearless on the mound. He's extremely aggressive with his pitches, comes right at you. He's top notch. He's tough.

Q. How would you describe how the fans have really taken to this team especially the last couple months?

NED YOST: It's hard to describe. It's been a wonderful experience, I think, not only for our players, but this is a fanbase that's been longing for this for a long, long time, and you knew that once we got to this point, it would be a very special relationship with our players and our fans. And you see our guys celebrating with our fans. You see our guys out on the town embracing our fans and enjoying our fans. It's been a really special experience, I think, for both our players and our fans.

Q. Some of your players say you've changed as manager even in just the last year or two. Is that true, if so, how?

NED YOST: Probably. I think up until the last two years. You always try to my mindset was always try to mold my players into what I thought they should be, you know? Always try to. That comes from growing up in an environment with Bobby Cox, who had very strict rules and ideas about the game. But you realize now that it's a different type of player than it was ten years ago, and a totally different type of player than when I came up. It's a different group.

I think one of the big lessons I learned was quit trying to mold them to be like you and just let them be themselves. It's a lot easier if you can allow them to be themselves. You still have your sets of rules, but they're not as rigid, and you allow them to grow and play like they're capable of playing. But instead of trying to mold them to be somebody that they're not, just let them be themselves.

I've found it's a lot more relaxed atmosphere. Guys are much more comfortable trying to be themselves instead of somebody who I want them to be, and it's worked out good for us. I enjoy it much better, too. Because I enjoy the kids in that clubhouse, and I enjoy their enthusiasm. I enjoy their youthful exuberance. I enjoy the way that they enjoy playing for each other and the chemistry that they bring inside that locker room. So it's funner for me that way, too.

Q. All year it's been get through six, then let the bullpen take over seven, eight and nine. I don't think a starter has gone into the sixth inning yet in the postseason. Will that change with the emergence of Finnegan and Frasor, that if you get through five, you turn it over to them in the sixth?

NED YOST: No. If you go back to look at our games, you have a lot more leeway when you have a two or three run lead. We haven't had it. We haven't had the two or three run leads for the most part throughout the entire postseason. You go into the sixth inning or even the seventh inning with a three run lead, you've got more leeway. You've got more time to do things. But when it's a one run game, you've got to go. With the dominance of our back three guys, it's hard to keep them out of those situations.

Q. You've obviously got Bay Area ties. You have several coaches from the Bay Area. Does it mean anything to you? Is it special to have a group of coaches from the same area? What do you think about your team going back to the Bay Area to compete in the World Series?

NED YOST: For me, it's very special. I bet you I've worn out 15 San Francisco Giant hats as a kid growing up. That was my team. I loved to watch them. Willie Mays was my idol and favorite player at that time, just was a huge Giants fan growing up in the Bay Area. By the time I was a junior and senior in high school, the Oakland A's were winning their championships, but at heart I was always a Giants fan.

So to be able to play the Giants in the World Series is a special treat for me.

Q. I heard there is a Vida Blue dollar bill story? What was that about?

NED YOST: Yeah. I hate to say this, but we used to sneak in the Coliseum. We'd hop the fence and hide in the bathroom until BP started, and we'd run out and shag flyballs and catch them. We were wandering around the stadium, and one time Vida Blue was throwing a side session. And I ran down to get his autograph, but I didn't have anything for him to sign. The only thing I had was a dollar bill. So I asked Vida if he'd sign it for me, and he signed "Vida Blue" on the dollar bill. And I was the happiest guy in the stadium until about the sixth inning, and I got hungry and I spent it on a Colossal Dog (laughing).

So I don't know if you remember Colossal Dogs. When they came out, they were big hot dogs and big buns and sauerkraut. And they were about a bug buck. So I spent my Vida Blue autograph on a Colossal Dog.

The cool thing about it is 20 years later, I was doing a clinic with Vida Blue, and I told all the kids, "Vida won't remember this," but I told the story and they all laughed. At the end of the clinic, Vida came up and handed me an autographed dollar bill. So that was cool.

Q. Nationally everybody is talking about how exciting this team is, the brand of play, the speed, the defense and all that stuff. That kind of goes back to what you were saying about how you've changed as manager. Did you come into the season knowing, this is going to be our signature or has it evolved? And, again, going back to letting players do what they do best, is that how that worked?

NED YOST: Yeah, it was kind of letting them do what they do best. I don't think I've this might shock some people but I don't think I've put a steal sign on all year. All of our running is green light stuff. Rusty and I have a sign at first base, but Rusty does a great job with identifying keys, identifying pitch selections and priorities in terms of percentages, and just has a great feel when to go. We take advantage of that, and we let players be players.

Again, I get a bunch of criticism on bunting too much, but probably over half of the bunts we put on, they've done themselves.

It's the ability to let players have the freedom to play the game, especially when they're good. I've found out that when you're always trying to if I'm over there and I've got somebody that can steal a base, I can't tell when they're going to get their best jump. If I make them go in a certain situation you're kind of hampering your player's ability. So we let them play the game.

The thing that they like, they like the freedom of being able to play the game and the freedom to take chances, because like I told Rusty, "Look, if you feel like it's the time to go, go. If they make it, then that's on you. If they get thrown out, then that's on me, and I can take it."

So we've got the freedom to play the game. Bobby Dews when I came to the Big Leagues as a coach, Bobby Dews gave me a bit of advice when I moved to third base, he said, "Look, Ned, always coach third base to win the game, never to cover your butt." And that's my style of managing. We play to win, not to play safe, not to cover our tails. We play to win. The players having the freedom to do that has been very successful for us.

Q. You spoke before about how long it had been for the fans. Because of where the team came from and how long it had been since it reached the playoffs, was it a challenge for you getting the players to believe they were capable of this?

NED YOST: Well, I don't know if it was a challenge. But that's been the message for the last three years, is that you guys are a championship caliber team, and you guys are going to be good enough. I don't think they believed it until about the eighth inning of the Wild Card game, and then they totally believed it. Our guys have been telling them for years how special the World Series is, and one day they're going to experience it.

So it's been fun to look at a group and know that they're capable of doing it, and as soon as they believed it, that they would accomplish it. But that Wild Card game, the switch flipped, and they believed it, and they've just been on a nice roll ever since.

Q. I was wondering if you could take us through your lone World Series plate appearance back in 1982.

NED YOST: Yeah, look, I wasn't a very smart player and we were getting killed in the sixth inning of the ballgame. And I went up there and I was going to hit a home run. I never walked, right? And I think John Tudor was the pitcher, and that son of a gun got to 3 1, and I said, "I don't care where you throw it, I'm swinging it." Because I was gonna hit a home run or strike out. That was my only intention. He ended up throwing a pitch nine feet outside, so far I couldn't even swing at it.

So the thing I did least in my career was walk, and I ended up walking in the World Series.

Q. When Dayton was working out the Greinke trade with the Brewers, he had the advantage of having you, who knew the Brewers' system so well. And I was told that you particularly went to bat for Escobar and told Dayton, "If you're going to trade Greinke, you've got to get Escobar." Is that true? And could you talk about your input in that trade?

NED YOST: Yeah, we talked about it. Once we realized that we could make a deal with Milwaukee, that Zach would waive his no trade clause there, that Dayton started looking at players. Right from the minute I saw Escobar in Spring Training as an A ball player, the kid was as big as a broomstick, but he just covered the whole left side of the infield. He was making fantastic plays as a kid out of A ball. I fell in love with him. I knew one day when he filled out, he'd be a really good offensive player because his hands worked.

With Dayton, I felt real, real strongly that if we could get Lorenzo Cain and Escobar in that deal, and then whatever pieces came with that and I always liked Jake Odorizzi, if we could get those three guys, that would be a heck of a deal for us. Because I just felt very, very strongly about Escobar and Cain. Once they matured and they developed they would be outstanding Major League players.

Q. Greinke's come and gone, and you still have these kids. They're young. Do you think you definitely got the best of that?

NED YOST: We're in the World Series right now and we've got an outstanding shortstop and an unbelievable centerfielder, and that's all I need to know.

Q. Could you just talk about what James Shields means inside that clubhouse for your team?

NED YOST: Yeah, I think it's well documented the fire that he brought over with him, the competitiveness, the confidence that he instills in that locker room. His work ethic is tremendous, his clubhouse chemistry. The addition with him in that clubhouse, he's kind of just turned the clubhouse around, really. He brought a definite winner's attitude with him, and he's not only molded but he's mentored our players in that fact.

He's been a big addition. I think both trades, when you sit back and look at it, the Escobar and Cain trade was the one that put us in position to start our championship climb. The Wade Davis and the Shields trade was the one that got us here. I don't think we'd be here right now without either one of those trades.