|Interview with FireNedYost.com|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on September 23, 2008
AtHomePlate.com: Your site has been advocating Ned Yost's firing since April 2007. Do you feel vindicated after Yost was fired Monday? What was your initial reaction?
Steve Tornio: I don't know about vindicated. It was fun to get all the attention from friends, and to see the site mentioned on prominent sites like ESPN and salon.com, though. Mostly, we're relieved that Yost is gone.
AtHomePlate.com: There aren't that many blogs that are dedicated to the firing of one manager. Can you explain why you wanted Yost gone so badly?
ST: I've been a regular poster on brewcrewball.com roughly since it started, and I think the earliest post I can find where I express frustration with Yost is May 2004. So, there's been a lot of time to see that same mistakes made over and over, which drives me crazy.
The reason why the site took off, and why a lot of people have shrugged their shoulders about the firing, is that Yost is a jerk to anyone that questions his decisions. So, when a TV reporter asks him why he would send Eric Gagne out in a tie game when he hasn't been any good, Ned responds with, "Well, if you ever PLAYED the game, you'd understand." When someone asks why Rickie Weeks sticks in the leadoff spot despite hitting under .200 and having an OBP around .300, he replies, "Rickie's a run-scorer. You guys have no concept." (Not exact quotes, but pretty close).
AtHomePlate.com: What were your initial reactions the day Yost was hired? From what I recall, he was widely regarded after being Bobby Cox's bench coach/third base coach in Atlanta.
ST: We were pretty excited here in Milwaukee. Dean Taylor was gone, Jerry Royster was out and Doug Melvin hired this guy who was on the '82 Brewers to come in and help rebuild. Of course, no one knew anything else about Yost, but whenever the Brewers want to reassure the fan base, they refer to 1982 in some way.
AtHomePlate.com: How much blame do you place on last year's August collapse on Yost?
ST: Last year's collapse started in June. They faced the Cubs in a series with started on June 29, and from that day on, they went 37-47. 10-16 in July, 9-18 in August, 16-12 in September. They had a ridiculous 10 1/2 game lead early in the season, so they were still able to fight for a playoff spot toward the end, and I do blame Yost for that failure to close it out in September. He clearly couldn't handle the pressure, and freaked out on the umpires, getting tossed from games 3 or 4 times in the final 2 weeks (and on good calls by the umpires). The final straw was in the series against the Cardinals in the last week, and Yost decided he needed to bean Albert Pujols in the middle of a close game, with a guy already on base. The Cards ended up winning that game, and then Yost came up with his famous "Math is on our side" comment when asked how the Brewers could make the postseason, down 2 games to the Cubs, with 4 games left.
AtHomePlate.com: Is Dave Sveum better for the team for the remainder of the season?
ST: Yes. As Joe Sheehan said over at Baseball Prospectus, unless the Brewers picked Dakota Fanning to manage the team, they could hardly do worse than Yost.
AtHomePlate.com: Is he your manager next year and beyond?
ST: No, I don't think so. A lot will depend on if Melvin sticks around as the GM. He made it pretty clear in the press conference Monday that he didn't like the idea to fire Yost, and that may mean a rift has developed between Melvin and Attanasio. I hope Melvin does leave. His free agent acquisitions and building the bullpen have been atrocious, especially this year. $10 million for Gagne? puh-leeze
With Attanasio in charge, I think the Brewers will begin to incorporate more and more sabremetric-influenced ideas into their moves, which should help the team to stay competitive without spending huge piles of money.
AtHomePlate.com: How'd you get the site started?
ST: It was actually started by a friend of mine, after Yost sent Greg Aquino into a couple games where he had no business pitching, and got blown up both times. My friend was so mad that he registered the domain name and set up the blog on his web host account.
AtHomePlate.com: What happens to the site now that Yost was fired? Do you move on to the "Bring Back CC Sabathia" blog?
ST: I think the site's done. There are still some commenters duking it out, but I don't plan to post any more. If Yost gets a job somewhere, maybe we'll release the domain to that team's fans. Now that he's gone, I'd be happy to never write about him again.....unless he's managing the Braves, and handing the Brewers victory.