Firing a winning manager

The Brewers have their best season in years, leading the wildcard race and headed for the playoffs with just 12 games remaining. So what do they do? Fire their manager.

Yes, the team was slumping, frittering away their lead. But why fire Ned Yost, the man who brought them to their prominence? There has got to be more to the story than I know. Wisconsinites, please explain.

In the meantime, interim manager Dale Sveum–whom I like–having brought back Robin Yount as bench coach managed the team to superstar pitcher C. C. Sabathia’s first loss and the Brewers lost the lead in the wildcard race.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    The team’s winning record largely masked Yost’s many mistakes. It was too little too late. This team won despite his very poor line-up and pitching decisions. My favorite is his insistence on playing the error prone Ricky Weeks (.233 batting average) despite the fact that the team traded to get the sure handed Ray Durham (.288 batting average). Yost’s other terrible tendency is his unwavering devotion to the pitch count. It really seems like Yost was unable too actually determine if his pitcher had it on any given day. He would leave a guy in for 2 more innings even when he was getting shelled because he hadn’t tossed enough pitches or he would pull the starter regardless of how good his stuff was once the pitcher hit the magic number of pitches. He really didn’t manage his pitchers. He just counted pitches.

    I just don’t know what it means to do it at this point in the season. It almost seems like you are giving up but that you want to make sure your two free-agent-at-the-end-of-the-year-ace-pitchers know that they won’t have to deal with this guy if they resign with the club.

  • Don S

    I think there is a sense of panic because the Brewers sold out their future in favor of this season by renting CC Sabathia with the express implication that it was for a total push to the playoffs for this year only, and there was no realistic way they could keep him. It is unfortunate, because it sends a horrible message to the players and fans, and causes a lot of upheaval in the last two weeks of the season. It smells like panic, which is what it was.

    They would have been better served, as an organization, to let Yost finish out the season and then let him go if they missed the playoffs. Or, if Yost’s managerial decisions were as poor as Joe indicates, they should have let him go back in June or July, when they would have had time to establish a new manager in the position before the post-season.

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a move being taken by a club tied for the lead for a playoff spot with 12 or so games left, in all my years following this or any other sport. Very odd.

  • Joe

    “there was no realistic way they could keep him.”

    They are actually going to make a run at him – instead of Sheets. They do have a shot at keeping one or the other. CC gave an interview where he spoke at length about liking Milwaukee and not ruling it out. That is nice but I have a feeling that $ will decide where he plays.


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