OTC: Mellinger Calls Out Ned Yost For Calling Out Royals Fans / And Fescoe & Klingler Are Appalled By Sam & The Star

“On a glorious night for the Royals, Ned Yost manages to dump on the fans”
Headline for Sam Mellinger’s column in Wednesday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger’s column touched off a firestorm of local sports talk along with the national media picking up on his column’s theme. Want some irony? Here was the headline for Sam’s column the day before… “This team still deserves to get its share of some national attention.” Okay then…

“It’s the most dramatic win of a spectacular-so-far season, the kind of moment we’ll remember in five weeks if this thing heads into the playoffs — and then, dang-it if manager Ned Yost didn’t take away from the whole thing with a clumsy, misguided, insulting and out-of-touch whine about only 13,847 people showing up on a school and work night with temperatures into the 90s. First came the sarcasm. ‘I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?’ he said in his post-game news conference.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Did Yost mean his words to be taken as sarcasm? We might never know. I do know that Jeffrey Flanagan used the same term in his game story on FoxSports.com to describe Ned’s comments about the fans. Read on.

“(Yost) was asked if he expected more people at the game, and let’s include his whole answer so he can’t claim to be misquoted, or taken out of context:”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger did not have to do this – as most columnists would not give up the space  post Yost’s comments verbatim in their column. I saw this as Mellinger’s attempt to be fair. Not all those who read Mellinger agreed with me – some I will address later in this column. Read on for Ned’s comments in written form.

“We’re in a pennant race, yeah. We’ve been working on trying to build this team for the last three or four years to put ourselves in a position where we can contend for a championship. And not only the division, but we want to contend for a world championship. It’s really, really important we have our fans behind us at the stadium. I know it’s a school night. But I’ve been through this before in Atlanta (when the Braves first made the playoffs) in ‘91, where it didn’t matter what night it was, that place was packed at the end of August and September. The fans really got into it. I know there’s different things you can do. You can watch it on the Internet. You can watch it on TV. But there’s a real need for our fans to be a part of this. We had a great crowd last night, and I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t. They’re a big part of our success, especially at home. Because the electricity they provide, the energy they provide, helps you get through games like this. You know? We’ve been working hard to make our fans happy and make our fans proud for a lot of years, and we’d like them out here to enjoy a night like this with us. Because this was a special night. This was a fun night. I just wish there could’ve been more out here to enjoy it with us.”
Ned Yost, Kansas City Star
GH: I have heard Yost’s same words replayed on the radio today and I came away agreeing with Mellinger. Yost sounded frustrated with the small crowd at The K Tuesday night and he took this opportunity to voice his displeasure.

“What a stupid thing to say, on so many levels, and I’m writing this on deadline so I’ll stick to the stupidest. First, Yost is dead wrong. Laughably wrong. And this isn’t about his contention that the ‘electricity’ of the home crowd helps a team that is now 4-6 in front of crowds more than 30,000 at home and just had its signature win of the season in front of fewer than 14,000. It’s not even about the fact that a manager fired six years ago with 12 games left and his team holding a playoff spot at least in part because he wasn’t handling pressure well might not want to pick unnecessary fights with fans after the best win of the season.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I don’t believe Yost intended to pick a fight with Royals fans but he definitely did just that. Bringing up his time in Atlanta isn’t really going to play well here in Merriam and Blue Springs where folks have been dragged through two generations of awful baseball.

“All due respect to Yost’s three or four years of hard work, but the fans he’s talking down to had their hearts broken long before he came here and will be here long after he’s gone. Maybe he should give them some slack if a great five weeks of baseball hasn’t swayed a generation of stink just yet.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I love to read my local newspaper columnist standing up for the fans in the face of an arrogant manager. Mellinger scored big with me with today’s column. Others, not so much. Read on.

“I think there is a lot of irresponsible journalism going on right now and it’s painting Ned in a negative position. Inaccurate! Inaccurate! We do it for headlines. We do it for (sound) clips. He did not rip the fans! … It’s the first relevant column that Mellinger has written in three years. … That column by Skip Mellinger is irresponsible, man! Irresponsible! For those of you who complain about Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, we’ve got Sam Bayless and Stephen A. Mellinger right here in the Kansas City Star today!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe and his sidekick, Josh Klingler, fashioned most of their Wednesday morning show around attacking Mellinger and his column on Ned. It was entertaining if misguided radio. Read on.

“The story around the country is, ‘Yost rips fans after walk-off win.’ Congratulations to The Star. They did exactly what they need to do to stay relevant. … Ned Yost did not rip the fans! (Mellinger) heard Ned’s comments differently than I heard them. Congratulations to him. Your job is to create a stir and you created a stir. I think falsely though. Falsely.” Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe and Klingler ripped a page out of Kevin Kietzman’s playbook Wednesday morning with their attempt to take the opposite side of a local story and attempt to be controversial. They came off sounding like they worked for the Royals Radio rights holder and homers. And not the good kind of homers.

“I think we’re the responsible ones here, letting people hear what Ned said!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: This from the guy who has made national news with his over-the-top rants about the local teams.

“I do question Kansas City, though. I’m wondering what it is going to take for Kansas City to go (to Royals games). It seems like we have a lot of built-in excuses. We have just moved on from making going to a Royals game a priority. What’s it going to take to bring everybody back to the ball park because it’s not just the winning right now.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Klingler sounds like he is trying to beat both sides of the drum. He admonishes Mellinger for his takes on Yost criticizing the fans but then rips the fans himself for not showing up.

“Why is it so many #Royals followers on twitter want this thing not to succeed?”
Josh Klingler, @joshklingler, Twitter
GH: One of my favorite responses to Klingler above tweet came from Kelly Zumbehl (@Brostyleoffense), “I watched that chiefs colts game, we just know how this story ends.”

“The average fan doesn’t have four hours to spend going to and from the ballpark on a friggin’ Tuesday.”
Brian, @BrianMcGannon, Twitter
GH: I went for a walk with my wife in the second inning. We walked past a dad and his two young sons playing kick ball in a cul-de-sac. All three wore Royals t-shirts. The oldest son, about six years old, proclaimed himself to be Alex Gordon as he let fly a boot and circled the imaginary bases. When we returned about 30 minutes later, the family was heading inside and I said, “Hope the Royals can get a win over the Twins tonight.” The father responded by saying, “I am hoping they have built a big lead for us to watch the rest of the game.” Not everybody can go to the ball park. But that doesn’t mean this city is not engaged in what is happening there.

“I’m embarrassed I called out Orioles fans tonight. Attendance at The K was pathetic.” Jeff Rosen, @jeff_rosen88, KC Star sports editor, Twitter

“Royals draw 13,000, Detroit draws 40,000…just sayin’… Tigers..8 straight sellouts…” Frank Boal, @realfrankboal, Twitter

“I’m with Ned. Attendance needs to be higher during this run. 13k last night doesn’t cut it. Enjoy the ride. Go to games. Be a baseball town.”
Johnny Kane, @johnnykaneKMBC, Twitter
GH: The media ripping the local fans for not attending games is so old-fashioned and pro-business that it embarrasses me that this is our media.

“Dear Ned, Don’t be disappointed. We’ve suffered 30 yrs. This is new to us in KC. WE love the Royals. 13,847 saw something amazing last night.”
Nick Vasos, @NickVasos, of Fox 4, Twitter GH: If Ned and the media want a full house on Tuesday nights, build a 20K-seat stadium like Sporting has done and we’ll call every game a sellout and smile about how tremendous our fans are and what a great sports city we live in. Or maybe just put a sock in it.

“If this is your year, and a lot of signs point to that for the Royals, these are the kind of games you win. If it is not your year. These are the games you do not win. (Alex Gordon) down in the count 0-1. Perkins brings it home. There’s a fly ball well hit to right! Back goes Garcia! To the wall. He leaps and…Gone! Gordon!”
Denny Matthews, prior to the pitch Alex Gordon hit into the right-field fountain for a walk-off 2-1 win over the Twins Tuesday night, Royals Radio
GH: Damn. Maybe this is our time. Finally.

[email protected] and @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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94 Responses to OTC: Mellinger Calls Out Ned Yost For Calling Out Royals Fans / And Fescoe & Klingler Are Appalled By Sam & The Star

  1. keitzman wants an intern says:

    SSJ had some excellent comments this am regarding the media ripping fans for not coming to the game. SSJ and Nate both said that media types go to games for FREE. They don’t pay to park, or EAT! They sit in great seats and face none of the problems Joe 6 pack does.
    Suck it media types ripping fans like BOB FESCOE. You attend everything for friggin free so give it a rest.

    • Doug Tucker says:

      Actually, free media meals at the K came to a halt the day David Glass took charge of the team right after Mr. Kauffman died 21 years ago. And they should have. And while I don’t know what you do for a living, I’ll wager nobody charges you an admission fee to get into your work place. . Or park your car. Joe 6 Pack, God love him, is at the stadium to be entertained. The media is there to earn a living. Pay their bills. Feed their kids. Keep the boss off their back. For the most part, they enjoy their jobs but make no mistake – they are at work, they are not at play.

      • Brummy says:

        Good points; but I think the issue is the media types who complain about fan attendance. It’s a bad look to blame fans for doing something they themselves never do (media is paid to be there, the fans have to pay). Its a job perk, we get it.

        Btw, many people have to pay to park at their job.

        Nagging/criticizing the customer doesn’t sell. I’m ready for football and a coach knows how to handle the media.

        • Doug Tucker says:

          You’re right, many working men and women do have to pay parking fees at work. So I’ll withdraw that comment. But please do not think I’m defending media types who complain about fans not showing up at games.
          To the contrary,I think they’re ridiculous. The public owes sports teams nothing, not money nor loyalty nor even a passing interest if one does not naturally occur. Any blowhard media member or baseball manager who bellyaches about not getting enough public love should ask himself which would cause society the most pain if they disappeared for, say, two years – teachers, emergency responders, policemen or athletes?

      • keitzman wants an intern says:

        Thanks for the reply. I respect the excellent work you do. I would not put you into the same category as a radio sports talk guy. Many of the Radio and TV media are at games, but they are not reporting on the game.Just “freeloading” on free tickets given to them by sponsors or similar. They are enjoying the game like Joe 6 pack, except at a price of free.
        I can respect a person who is actually at a game to do their job, typing a story out that has to do with the game, but it is my impression that the radio talk show guys are there and don’t have to produce any work.
        As Bob Fescoe’s twitter or FB pic shows him “sitting or photobombing” behind Bobby Knight and Brent Musberger during a game at Sprint Center.
        These guys are just Lucky fans who enjoy some excellent perks. They go to all concerts they want to for free and sit in great seats as well judging from their FB and twitter accounts.
        They drive free Cars and trucks as part of sponsorship deals. Good for them for picking a career that has the perks Joe 6 pack envies.

  2. Herb says:

    As we all know, an organization takes on its persona from the top, down. Glass = Dick, GMDM = Dick, Ned = Dick….which is ironic since Dick was the Royals best manager of all time.

    Other than media tools, did anyone else “agree” with Ned? Doubt it.

    As for Denny, I think his problem is he thinks he’s too good to get too excited.

  3. Java Man says:

    I didn’t make church services this Sunday either. Didn’t hear Jesus bitching to the media.

  4. RickM says:

    So this has gone national with Olbermann determined to weigh in last night, naming Sam Mellinger(!) as a “worst person.” Mellinger – a fellow opinion-meister just like KO. Boggles the mind.

    To his credit, Keith admitted that Ned is a friend, but that he’s “criticized” the manager. As if that means anything. His justification was something having to do with Yost’s tone, not the actual words he spoke.
    With all due respect to KO’s knowledge of the sport, just as in his politics, the man definitely has his blind spots.

  5. Ed Connealy (@edcfromkc) says:

    Few things:

    It was a smug thing to say. He relishes his smugness and the second he looks right or righteous he pulls the smug-club out of his bag..it’s just who he is. I think he had a real point, but by acting like such a dick the last few years, he’s not the right messenger. His timing was terrible. It’s like he drew a mustache on a beautiful painting. But…he’s like that.

    Sam’s had to put up with an arrogant and antagonizing manager for years. He can’t separate that fact from this foot in mouth moment. Nor could I. That said, his column was over the top and he did a selective job when sighting Braves ticket sales. ( that team’s daily average was much higher than the Ks)

    I travel for work and fit in ball games on the road. The crowds in other cities on week-nights are mostly young singles, business people and seniors. KC isn’t a hot bed for 25-40 year old singles with money and the K is a long drunk drive for the ones that live there. In other cities, singles w/ cash mix the ball-game into their night’s plans, hitting a pub and restaurant prior to the game and maybe carrying on after the game.
    Look for ticket sales to really go up the rest the year and for season ticket sales to jump big next year. Fans buy season tickets after winning happens. KC folks live at a comfortable pace and the Ks location does not invite spontaneity.

    Amazing call by Denny Mathews..it is feeling like our year!

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