Reflective Yost interviews with Astros
Ex-Brewers manager certainly remembers tenure's end
MILWAUKEE -- Former Brewers manager Ned Yost has had 13 months to mull what went wrong in Milwaukee, and he broke a long period of relative silence Thursday after interviewing to be the next skipper of the Houston Astros.Here's what Yost learned from the sudden end to his Brewers tenure: "Don't lose 10 out of 13 games is the best thing I can figure," Yost told reporters in Houston, "and hope your offense stays on track so you don't struggle to score runs." The Brewers failed on both fronts during Yost's last two weeks as manager in 2008, and a four-game Phillies sweep that left Philadelphia and Milwaukee tied atop the National League Wild Card standings was the last straw. Yost was dismissed with 12 regular-season games to play. Now, after a year spent at home near Atlanta, Yost is looking to get back into baseball. He is among 10 candidates identified by the Astros, who are searching for a replacement for the departed Cecil Cooper. Like the Brewers did back in fall 2002, when Yost got his first big league managerial job after 12 years on Atlanta's coaching staff, the Astros are conducting their search in public. Yost interviewed with Houston officials at 10 a.m. CT on Thursday, then met with reporters. "It's six years of experiences that you learn [from]," Yost said of his Milwaukee managerial tenure, "and I think more than anything else the ability to sit at home for the first time in 35 years like I did this summer to review where you've been and where you've gone and think of all the aspects of your leadership and where you can become better was really, really beneficial for me. There's a lot of areas where I think I can get better. It was beneficial to sit and take account of all those." Yost is one of the most experienced of Houston's candidates. He stressed that in his media session. "I don't think there's any substitute for experience," Yost said. "I think I learned a ton of great lessons being 12 years with Bobby Cox, and I learned a ton of great lessons the last six years with the Milwaukee Brewers. I think that it only helps." Yost has remained mostly out of the spotlight since his Brewers dismissal. He graciously agreed to take part in a conference call with Milwaukee reporters the next day but then dropped off the grid except for one brief newspaper interview during one of the Brewers' road series against the Braves. He drew a salary from the Brewers all summer and made one trip to Milwaukee to return a leased car, but did so while the team was on the road and did not visit with any club officials. On Thursday in Houston, Yost used some of his old material. Speaking about how difficult the Astros always played Yost's Brewers at Minute Maid Park, he said, "When we came into Milwaukee when we were in Atlanta, that was like a vacation. You'd go in there and beat the Brewers three starts and then go home. That's never been the case here. This has always been a tough organization." The Brewers were 457-502 under Yost, who got credit from general manager Doug Melvin for sticking with the team's long-term building process. When Melvin and Yost began their Milwaukee tenures, the Brewers were coming off the worst season in franchise history, and both -- along with scouting director Jack Zduriencik -- helped bring the team back to respectability. So when the Brewers celebrated their playoff berth on the regular season's final day, more than one of them said they were thinking of Yost. Among them was Melvin, who was still talking about the former skipper when the Brewers reported to 2009 Spring Training under Ken Macha. "[Yost] is a good man," Melvin said then. "I don't want people to forget that we don't win last year without Ned Yost. He put us in that position as the manager ... and whenever we talk about last season and going to the postseason, I don't want fans to forget what Ned Yost did to contribute to this organization. He allowed our young players to play. I remember him making the statement to me, 'I'll put losses on my back today for wins in the future for the Brewers.' He did that." Yost, 54, interviewed with Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith, general manager Ed Wade, assistant general managers Ricky Bennett, David Gottfried and Bobby Heck and special assistant Enos Cabell.
Interim manager Dave Clark and Astros' Minor League field coordinator Al Pedrique on Wednesday were the first to interview for Houston's vacancy. Bob Melvin and Manny Acta will interview Friday; Pete Mackanin and Phil Garner will interview Saturday; and Brad Mills and Tim Bogar will close out the first round of interviews Monday.
"I don't know Ned very well, but the guy served under Bobby Cox for 10 years and certainly has what it takes to be a successful big league manager and he has experienced success in the Major Leagues," said Wade. "It didn't end well [in Milwaukee], but that's true of all the experienced guys we're interviewing."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Reporter Brian McTaggart contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.