Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Monday, September 15, 2008

Saved by the Yankees

As much as I hate the Yankees, I was awfully thrilled to see Mariano Rivera coming in with a 4-2 Yankee lead over the White Sox in the 9th. That's an awfully bizarre feeling, isn't it fellow haters? Such is the world of baseball, when in the last two weeks your enemy's enemies truly are your friends. On a night when the Twins offense was non-existent (two games in a row now), the Twins certainly needed the help.

For me, though, the big story of the day was not on the field, but instead centered around the firing of Ned Yost in Milwaukee. I admit that I don't follow the Brewers closely enough to know whether or not Yost's managing over the past few weeks was noticeably different than his early season managing (there are apparently some suggestions that he was managing "tight" of late). But this looks an awful lot like a move based completely on desperation. Certainly, the Brewers have been downright dreadful throughout September -- but firing a manager with 2 weeks to go in the middle of a playoff race is simply unprecedented.

There are several possibilities, of course. One, this move could have absolutely no effect on the clubhouse. The Brewers might continue playing just as they would have had Yost been left alone. There's no way to measure this, because we don't know what the future would have held with Yost left in charge. It seems somewhat incredible though, doesn't it? The players are fully human, and the reason the games are played on a field instead of on paper is because emotions and attitudes and thoughts all play into results. Ned Yost helped guide this team into a playoff chase with two weeks to go; you would have to think the players won't immediately forget that.

The question seems to be whether the players felt that Yost was responsible for the recent slump. If they don't (and perhaps even if they do), the players will undoubtedly resent Yost being fired so close to the end. They could see it as a dishonorable move by team management, and could resent being asked to move forward without the man who has led them through the vast majority of the season.

Alternatively, they could see this as a necessary move. I have no idea what was going on in the Brewer clubhouse. Perhaps Yost's attitude or behavior or managerial style did indeed change in September, and the players may have become unsettled or tight because of that. Or they may have "quit on" Yost for some undisclosed reason. Perhaps they might even welcome a move even if they supported Yost; it might even serve to center and focus the team. Consider it a shot of adrenaline straight into the bloodstream from the GM's office.

If I had to guess, though, this is not going to end well for the long-suffering fans of the Brewers. As I said earlier, I see this as a desperation move, a hail mary pass with time ticking off the clock. How often does such a move work? If anything, I think the move will probably backfire (although the Brewers can't possibly be as bad for the rest of September as they have been so far, you would think). To me, the Brewers season probably ended today. We'll see if they can surprise me.

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