Should the Milwaukee Brewers Look for New Leader?

Adam LindemerSenior Analyst IMay 4, 2008

Let me start off by saying that I am a Ned Yost fan and I love what he has done for the Milwaukee Brewers. He made the city of Milwaukee, as well as the state of Wisconsin, proud to cheer for the Brewers again.

After several years of losing and numerous managers over that same time frame, the Brewers brought in a Bobby Cox pupil named Ned Yost. He was given the task of trying to bring winning back to Milwaukee.

Edgar Frederick "Ned" Yost III spent 1980-83 as a catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, backing up Ted "Simba" Simmons, (who is now Yost's bench coach for Milwaukee). They were a part of that "magical" 1982 World Series run for the Brewers.

Twenty years after he left, Ned was back in Milwaukee, trying to manage the Crew back into the playoffs.

This transformation was not going to happen overnight though. It was going to take a couple of years for this team to start winning.

In his first year, 2003, Yost led the Brewers to a 68-94 record. This may seem mediocre to some, but seeing as how Milwaukee had only won 56 games (meaning a club-record 106 losses) in '02, this was a significant improvement. 

However, the Brewers were still the cellar-dwellers in the NL Central.

2004 was no different, as the Brewers compiled a 67-94 record, again finishing dead last in the division.

In '05, Milwaukee climbed out of the basement and managed to win 81 games to end the year with a .500 record and a third-place finish. Baseball was back in Milwaukee and they had Ned Yost to thank.

The Brewers stumbled in '06 and only won 75 games, six less than the previous year. They also had to watch division rival St. Louis go on to win the World Series after winning 83 games in the regular season.

2007 showed some promise as the Brewers blistered to a quick 24-10 start. Milwaukee managed to increase their division lead to near double digits and looked like they were the team to beat in the Central.

But Brewers fans wondered if the "Summer Slide" would be upon them once again. And no sooner than they wondered did the blow up take place.

The Brewers could've been beaten by a little league team in July and August, and they squandered the division lead to their hated rivals, the Chicago Cubs.

Even with their inconsistent play, the Brewers were still in the division race up until the last week of the season. But in the end it was simple; the Cubs won when they had to and the Brewers were just hoping that the Cubs would lose.

Ned Yost was easily blamed for making some questionable managerial decisions in '07. Whether it was leaving a reliever in too long (the bullpen blew 16 three+ run leads), not putting on a hit and run, or not bunting when the time came, Ned was on the hot-seat with many fans.

Through all of this, there have been Ned-haters and Ned-lovers (myself in the latter). I have supported Yost and always thought he was the man who would lead us to back to the "promised land".

In Milwaukee's first 31 games this year, they have a 16-15 record, far off the expectations of every Brewers fan. What Brewer fan would've expected this offense to struggle as much as they have in the first month of the season?

So this brings up the question of whether Ned Yost is really the answer to all of Milwaukee's problems.

Maybe the furthest he was able to lead them was to an above .500 record, no more. This is his sixth year in Milwaukee and Yost has an overall record of 390-450 (a .464 winning percentage). The Brewers finally managed to play meaningful baseball in September of last year, but still haven't found their way into October.

One thing Ned can't be blamed for is the injuries that happen to players. But the manager is almost always blamed when a team performs below its expectations. 

So should Ned Yost really be given his ticket out of Brew Town? I guess only time will tell, and Ned Yost may not have as much as he thinks.