12/04/2002 6:00 pm ET
Brewers skipper hosts online chat
The following is a transcript from an online chat with new Brewers manager Ned Yost, held Dec. 4, 2003.
MaryTracy: I think you did a terrific job with the Braves, and know your energy and dedication can only help the Brewers. What is the one major area you would like to see improve?? (say, maybe you could talk Glavine into a Brewers uniform)
NED YOST:: I can't pinpoint one area. I think we have to improve in a lot of areas. We have to improve defensively, we have to improve offensively, we have to improve our baserunning. And we have to improve the way we go about playing the game. We want to improve on developing a winning attitude.
leeanndemon: What advice have you picked up from Bobby Cox on managing? How do you think your first year will go? How far do you expect to get this season?
NED YOST: : I learned many things from Bobby. Most of all, Bobby taught me how to treat people, how to treat players. He always understood how hard it is to play this game. And you treat people accordingly. As for the first year, I look for us to work very hard on becoming a better team. We've got good players and we've got a lot of work to do. But I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
kidskrew: Last year's team was full of ability, and succeeded in underachieving. What will you do with pretty much the same team to get their full potential out of them?
NED YOST: : We start with attitude. There's a definite attitude that you must have to win. It's an attitude that allows you to battle for 27 outs in a ballgame, and it's an attitude that says no matter what the situation, you still have a chance. It's a 'never quit' attitude. As far as work ethic goes, we must work hard on becoming a better fundamental team, both defensively and offensively.
imwillywonka: As of right now, what are the plans for the left side of the infield?
NED YOST: : We're looking at some different options including some free agents. We have Keith Ginter as an option at third, he's a young up-and-coming player. Ronnie Belliard fits into the mix somewhere. I know a lot of you have questions like that. Doug Melvin is working on that as we speak.
Guenth1: Do you prefer a young team or a older team?
NED YOST: : I prefer a mix of young and old. We need older, experienced players that can lead and direct our younger, talented players. That said, we're going to probably have a lot of younger players this year.
LoyaltyIsDead: Is Geoff Jenkins going to be 100 percent going into Spring Training? Do you see his injury history as a concern?
NED YOST: : I think Geoff Jenkins is 100 percent right now. I got a chance to meet Geoff when we were in Arizona for the organizational meetings, and he was very excited and ready to go. No, I do not worry about his injury history. He plays hard and he plays to win, and I'm really looking forward to watching him play.
Salami1: Hi Ned, welcome back to Milwaukee!! I was just wondering what your goals for this year are?
NED YOST: : We have, in my mind, four goals this year. The first is to play .500 baseball. The second is to win our division. The third is to win the National League. And the fourth is to win the World Series. I think it is important that you set lofty goals, but goals that are achievable. I know these are lofty goals, but No. 1, playing .500, would be a great goal to achieve.
leeanndemon: Is your son going to follow in your footsteps and be a Major Leaguer?
NED YOST: : He's working very hard at it. Ned's at the University of Georgia, and is going to get a chance to play a lot this year as a sophomore. For what it's worth, he's a better player right now than I ever was, offensively. I was a better defensive player, but he can really smack it.
Guenth1: No question here, just wanted to wish you good luck, nice to have ya and we look forward to supporting you here in Milwaukee.
NED YOST: : Thank you very much. I am very excited to be here, to be a part of bringing success back to the Milwaukee Brewers. That's something that I have dreamed about for a long time, and I'm looking forward to it becoming a reality.
leeanndemon: What are your superstitions regarding baseball?
NED YOST: : I don't have any superstitions. I believe that you work hard to make your own destiny in this game. Luck is the residue of hard work.
bosstone: It appears that the previous regime really did not take into account OBP when taking into account personal and filling out the lineup card. How important is OBP will be when you are creating your starting lineup?
NED YOST: : That's a good question. The three most important things to me offensively are on-base percentage, runs scored and RBIs. That is unselfish, fundamental baseball. I think it's important that we play offensively as a team. Nine guys, collectively, trying to score runs instead of one guy hitting homers.
jonmilw: Hi Ned....do you plan on taking an aggressive approach offensively this year...like base stealing and hit and runs? This was the approach last year but was not successful at all.
NED YOST: : I believe that you must be aggressive when you play this game, both at the plate and running the bases. We have to work harder on doing that the right way so that everything that we do becomes second-nature. We stress and strive to play the game smart.
MassBrewer: Doug Melvin has stated that new pitching coach Mike Maddux isn't one to focus on pitching mechanics so much as he focuses more on philosophies. What is it about Mike's approach that prompted you to give him his first big league coaching job?
NED YOST: : First, let me say that Mike's brother Greg is by far the smartest pitcher that I've ever come across in my career, and Greg will be the first to tell you that a lot of things he learned came from his brother, Mike. Mike's approach is that our pitchers make quality pitches in the strike zone, pitching 'to contact.' That keeps their pitch count down, and keeps them in the game longer. It's important that we field a strong infield behind them to catch the ball so that they can be successful in that.
leeanndemon: Do you think that because your position was catcher that you will be able to offer valuable advice to your catchers this season?
NED YOST: : Yeah. I think that the best advice that I will give them throughout the season is to focus on their defense. That's the most important thing for them right now. If they're strong defensively, anything they do offensively will be a bonus.
JP5: Do you think the area of catcher is a problem?
NED YOST: : No, I don't think it's a problem. I have never really seen these guys, but our reports on Robert Machado, Javier Valentin and Cody McKay are very good, and I am anxious to see them play.
MikeyMike00: Who is the projected "ace" of the Brewers at this point?
NED YOST: : So far, for me, it's Ben Sheets. Everything that I have heard is that he is a quality individual and player. But so is Glendon Rusch. Both of those guys are a good starting point for a young, quality pitching staff. If those two guys would have played for the Atlanta Braves last year, they probably would have won 15-20 games apiece.
kidskrew: How will you develop a winning attitude if you lose 15 out of 20 to start?
NED YOST: : Patience is the key. The beginning of our season next year is very tough. We play St. Louis, San Francisco, Arizona, Houston and Pittsburgh in the first 20-plus games. This is not a quick fix. This is something that takes time. It's a process. The key is not to panic if we start out slow next year. Remember, the Anaheim Angels started slow last year and look where they finished.
TINKERBRAT: I noticed last season that you don't wear glasses any more. Did you have Lasik?
NED YOST: : Yeah. Greatest procedure ever invented. My vision now is 20/12.
shawnmueller: Aside from meeting everybody, what is the first thing you will set out to accomplish in Spring Training
NED YOST: : The first thing that I want to try to do is get to know everybody, but they need to get to know me, too. They need to know my ideas, things that I think are important about the game of baseball and my work ethic and my coaches' work ethic, to let them know that the only reason we are here is to make them a better baseball team. We start that from Day 1.
doober: It seems like the key to success in Atlanta was always the strong starters. Do you think that's the best way to build the Brewers into a contender?
NED YOST: : I think that is it very important. Starting pitching and defense are the keys to winning baseball games. We already have one of the best bullpens in the National League, so it is important to us to find three quality starters, be it experienced or young pitchers, to go with Ben Sheets and Glendon Rusch.
jimhaas: Welcome back to Milwaukee, Mr. Yost, we're glad to have a person who wants a winner as much as the fans! I was just wondering what you plan to do with the players that don't seem to care if the crew win or lose? Thanks a lot and good luck this season!
NED YOST: : I don't think that we have anybody on this team that doesn't care about winning. We will start from Day 1 on changing the way we approach the game of baseball and our mindset, and work very hard to become a winning baseball team.
jjlong: As fans of the Brewers, should we expect to see a more aggressive style on the base paths than we've seen the past few years?
NED YOST: : I know that the baserunning was a problem area for the Brewers last year. This year, we have hired Dave Nelson as our first base coach. Dave is one of the best baserunning coaches in all of baseball, and he should improve our baserunning tremendously with his coaching ability. We're very glad to have him on our staff.
AMaccsroomie: How exciting is it to be working with a new President and GM?
NED YOST: : Very exciting. The best part about it is that we are all on the same page. We have the same goals and the same beliefs, that the Milwaukee Brewers will very soon be successful. We are willing to work very hard to make that happen.
TimothyDeane: How does Ned Yost motivate???
NED YOST: : Mostly by telling the truth, that everybody has one great opportunity to be successful in this game for an extended period of time. Sometimes we forget that this time is limited, but we must take full advantage every day of this opportunity. It's my job to remind them of this wonderful opportunity that is before them. That keeps them motivated.
Milwfan1: Will Matt Kinney be in the rotation this year?
NED YOST: : We have three spots open. Matt Kinney, Ruben Quevedo, Wayne Franklin, Ben Diggins, Nick Neugebauer, Mike Matthews, and others will be fighting for those three spots.
TINKERBRAT: There is always talk, like in Arizona, that the closed roof affects the play of the game. What are your thoughts on that at Miller Park?
NED YOST: : I don't know if that's true, but I sure enjoy the fact that we're going to play today, no matter what the weather is outside.
mb198119: Every up-and-coming team needs good clubhouse leadership. Have you identified any particular players on the Brew Crew who can fill that role?
NED YOST: : I feel that it's important for our veterans to lead by example. I'm not much on a verbal, "rah-rah" from our veterans. I want our veterans to work hard and play hard on the field, so that when our younger players see them, they will follow their example.
Guenth1: Mr. Yost, I have a boy who loves baseball and seems to come by it naturally. What would be the greatest thing to tell him and to help him with?
NED YOST: : I think the greatest thing that young players can do is have fun playing the game, work hard and be totally unafraid of making a mistake. When you're fearless on the field, you play your best.
NED YOST: : Thank you very much for your time. I am so glad to be a part of the Brewers organization, and am looking forward to Spring Training so that we can get to work on becoming a force to reckon with in upcoming years. Sorry we didn't have more time to answer everybody's questions. But thank you for taking the time to send them. Maybe we can come back in the future.
This was not subject to approval by Major League baseball or its clubs.