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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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In Sports

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio (left) and manager Ned Yost. (PHOTO: Allen Fredrickson )

In Sports

Yost hasn't had a lot to smile about since mid-July. (PHOTO: Allen Fredrickson )

Attanasio stands by his manager (for now, at least)




Audio Podcast: Brewers owner Mark Attansio on the scrutiny of manager Ned Yost
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To say that Brewers manager Ned Yost is on the hot seat is a bit misleading.

Yost seldom sits down during games.

Second-guessing, scrutiny and scorn are inevitable when your team sputters for weeks at a time, particularly against a backdrop of high expectations and a quarter-century of ineptitude.

In addition to almost constant harpooning from fans, Yost has had to deal with the pressure of guiding young players through a pennant race, patching together an inconsistent bullpen and, now, the cherry on the sundae:

A vote of confidence.

During a mid-game meeting with reporters Sunday afternoon at Miller Park, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio left himself the usual "we'll review everything at the end of the year" wiggle room but also said "There is really no reason to think (Yost) won't be back next year."

That's guaranteed to cause cardiac arrest for some fans, particularly those wondering how Yost summoned reliever Greg Aquino at a critical juncture of the team's loss to Houston. Attanasio, whose professional background is in the world of high finance, takes a more measured approach to analysis than the average tailgater.

"Ned has to just do what he's doing, which is focus on preparing the team every day," Attanasio said. "Maybe it's because we haven't been here in a long time, (but) there seems to be more day to day and inning to inning commentary on Ned's managing than any team in the major leagues.

"I get all the New York and Los Angeles papers. They don't do daily commentary on how the manager is managing. Believe me, those teams, I watch a lot of baseball games, we're not the only team that's had a rough go in here; the only team that occasionally makes a bad play.

"(Yost) just needs to do what he's doing, which is to continue to manage the team. You go in the clubhouse, there is a very good feeling in the clubhouse. It doesn't feel any different than it did in April. That's, I think, a testament to the manager."

Attanasio said he is enjoying his first taste of the pennant race.

"It feels like it's just getting started," he said. "It's such an event to just get to September. Now we're here and it's great to be here.

"Admittedly, the biggest challenge I've had to face going through this the first time ... is we had games in August that were very painful, honestly, and I realized they weren't painful before because it didn't really count before.

"That's part of the whole experience, the ups and downs. I think our fan base is feeling that, too. We haven't been in this position for a long time. I think what we all have to remember is that we're in good position. We've got a great team and I think it's going to be an exciting September."

Attanasio said he's experiencing the pennant race as a fan first and an owner second.

"That's probably why I've had so many ups and downs," he said. "As an owner, I'd like to think I could detach myself and be very measured. That's what I try to do in business. I think that's what I've been able to do here so far.

"There have been a lot more ups and downs and I think that's because I'm not reacting the way a fan would. That's OK, because I really try to identify with how the fans and how they feel. I always say I'm a fan first and I guess I'm feeling it.

"For right now, I'm delighted to be a game and a half out of first place with the team playing well."

Attansio said he's seen other managers with worse records than Yost receive contract extensions.

"Everybody jumps on the 'Is Ned's future OK?'" he asked. "Not a single person has said to me, 'Gee, your team is in the playoff hunt. Are you going to pick up the option his off-season?'"

That business decision, it seems, will be made at the end of the season and Attanasio will apply the same principles that have guided him in his other business.

"We had a couple of tough weeks in the market in August," he said. "Actually, the same weeks we were having tough weeks here (with the Brewers), we were having tough weeks in the market. We didn't just say 'Oh, my God: our investment professionals all got stupid all of a sudden.' And 'What's going on here?' We just had to ride it out. We rode this out. It's really the best way to run a business."


Talkbacks

sandstorm | Sept. 4, 2007 at 9:52 a.m. (report)

Mark, dude, baseball is a business only outside of the chalk. inside of the chalk your manager is completely clueless. also your manager didn't just get clueless in the month of august. he has never been able to manage very well in the later innings. you can't "ride out" stupid. seriously mark, if you don't have the grapes to fire yost i'll gladly make that call for you.

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