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October 13, 2015

Ned Yost

Kansas City, Kansas - Workout Day

NED YOST: First I would like to say that all of the thoughts and prayers from the Kansas City Royals organization are with the families of the two firefighters that lost their life in the line of duty yesterday and the entire Kansas City Fire Department. We have got such a close relationship with the Kansas City Police and Sheriff and the Fire Department people, it's just -- I think we all woke up with heavy hearts today. But I just wanted to say that first.

Q. Eric mentioned that this was something that hit close to home for him. Is this something personal for you as well?
NED YOST: Well, it is. My family had a bunch of firefighters. And especially on my wife's side. My brother-in-law's dad was a fire chief and my nephew's a fireman and their whole family grew up as firemen, so it's something that I've spent many, many hours at fire stations growing up, just going down to sit and talk to my friends that were firefighters and spend an hour or two there. So it is personal, I think, for everybody in there.

Q. I remember last year you and some of the players were talking about getting into the Wild Card game wasn't enough, if you didn't win it, you needed to win that to feel like you were in the playoffs. I wonder if there's a similar feeling after what happened yesterday, this incredible comeback, that what would that mean if not for tomorrow?
NED YOST: Well, again, our focus this year -- last year our focus was different. We wanted to break a 29-year spell of not making it to the playoffs. And I felt like the Wild Card game really wouldn't mean anything, just making the Wild Card game if we didn't win.

When we won, I felt like, okay, we accomplished our goal. We wanted to get to the playoffs. And we eventually took it all the way to the World Series. But for me that was kind of like a bonus.

This year it's a different story. A minor goal, I guess you could say, was we wanted to win the division. We really did. But our ultimate goal was to win the World Series and anything short of that is going to be a goal unaccomplished. It means a lot.

Q. Two part question: One, could you just talk about what it was like in the dugout yesterday, and then what's it like watching that happen when the crowd's not going crazy? Last year all the support you had, yesterday it must have been like just the life sucked out of the stadium.
NED YOST: Yeah, well, the life in the dugout was no different than it's been the entire series. There was no, geez -- because they get after it. They get after it every inning. When that thing started to develop, you could kind of sense the crowd starting to get a little worried. Base hit, base hit, base hit, base hit, base hit, one run, 6-3, base hit, 6-4. Then when Morales' ball made it through, you could definitely feel the air coming out of the stadium. That was for sure.

Q. Every rally has its kind of one unique lifespan. You guys have had a couple of these really big rallies over the last couple years in the Postseason. I'm curious from your perspective how last year's Wild Card rally and then one yesterday were similar and different.
NED YOST: Well, they weren't really different. They were rallies with your back against the wall. You knew that sooner or later we had to get the bats going if we were going to win that.

It was just the same type of rally. I think that for me, personally speaking, you just sit back and watch it. I'm not standing up and down screaming, yelling and cheering. My mind's always going: Okay, if we score this run; okay, we score this run, now what do we got to do? Okay, we scored this run. Okay, now we're tied. What are we going to do?

And then your mind goes: Okay, I got Wade coming in for a six-out save. We really need to get this run in here because you don't know where your next opportunity to score a run is going to come from. And I had already used Herrera, I'd already used Madson. And I'm doing something that I very rarely do, is sending Wade out there for a six-out appearance.

So it was important that we scored that seventh run. And a great at-bat by Drew Butera and then the great at-bat by Alex Gordon to score that seventh run. I was really comfortable from that point on.

Q. The Astros, very similar to you guys -- young, energetic, thrive on that. Do you expect them to almost let that one go last night in a good way, they have that naivety and that?
NED YOST: Yeah, I don't think that that game's going to affect them in any shape or form. And, yeah, they have got some young guys over there, but, again, you kind of look at what McCullers did yesterday. You see him on the mound and you know he's hyperventilating a little bit, he's herky-jerky, he looks like he's really nervous. And you're thinking, okay, we're going to get this guy. He's in a spot where we can get him. And he gets through the first and the second and then all of a sudden he calms down and then look at the performance he put forth.

And that's what happens with young teams. They get in, they get comfortable, and then they use their extreme talent to play the game hard and to play the game successfully. So we expect to have our hands full tomorrow too.

Q. Earlier in the series you had talked about the process of loosening the reins on the players, and that was part of their maturation. Was that also part of the development of you as a manager?
NED YOST: What was the first part?

Q. You were talking about loosening the reins on the players, letting them be more individualistic?
NED YOST: Right. Well, it does. Because, for me, loosening the reins as a manager means that I trust and use my coaches more. What I didn't do before. I always kind of held those -- I held them to myself. I made every decision. I pre-thought every decision. Now there's not a thing that goes on where I don't consult with Wak, with Pedro, with Dave, and with Dale. Everything we do I'm talking with them.

And now for me, I never worry about if I'm making the wrong decision, because I've got quality guys standing next to me. There's four opinions there. And generally we all agree on the same thing. So it's not just me making a decision, wondering if it's going to work or if it's not going to work.

These guys are phenomenal. They do their homework like I do, and to have their experience and expertise next to the bench and being able it use it, that makes managing these games extremely comfortable for me.

Q. When you get into a Game 5 situation, do you have a different philosophy on going to the bullpen quicker, knowing you have Chris Young and Medlen back there?
NED YOST: Yeah, well, it just depends on -- again, it just depends on the situation of the game and how things are going. Again, you've got a pretty experienced guy in Johnny Cueto and you've got a pretty -- like yesterday, we had a kid that was out there throwing the ball great, had only given up three or four hits to that point. Granted, two of them were home runs, but just depends on the quality of stuff that you're seeing.

If the quality of stuff is good, then you're going to stay with them longer. If it's not, then you start getting a little bit of an antsy feeling and you probably go to the bullpen quicker than you normally would, especially in a Game 5. Because we're going to have just about all hands on deck out there.

Q. Is a win a win, or does extra confidence come with a dramatic win?
NED YOST: No, I don't think we need extra confidence, so a win's kind of a win. Our guys are -- if you could have been in our locker room yesterday before the game, it was like we were playing Game 7 of Spring Training. They were loose, they were laughing, they were having fun. And all you could hear was the looseness. The TV crews came in, and they said: How do your players feel? I said: You tell me. Listen to what's going on out there.

So they have got a ton of confidence, and I think more than anything else that game just -- it's just an improbable comeback like that, they knew that they could do that. So, for the extra confidence, I don't think that's going to help us none because our confidence level is already real high.

Q. I think you kind of already answered this, but does the fact that the team has been so successful in elimination games, does that help when they now face more?
NED YOST: Yeah, maybe a little bit, but I don't think we ever think about that. We know how tough Houston's been. We know that on any given day anything can happen. And you can't really draw back on that fact because it doesn't do you any good.

We can't walk in tomorrow and knock on Houston's clubhouse door and say, look, we're pretty good in elimination games. You know, it doesn't work like that.

So they're going to be ready, so we need to be ready, too.


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