The teams’ managers both have Bay Area ties – Giants skipper Bruce Bochy for obvious reasons. But Kansas City’s Ned Yost grew up in the East Bay, in Dublin, and shared a hilarious story of meeting then A’s pitcher Vida Blue in Oakland that included a dollar bill, an autograph and a hot dog.
The managerial matchup, though, is a straight-up draw: elk hunter versus elk hunter.
“I know both of these guys and one thing they share is a passion for elk and the outdoors,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “There’s only one place where Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost would rather be right now other than out in the backcountry chasing elk and that’s in the dugout trying to out-manage each other and win the World Series.”
The similarities don’t stop there. Both Yost and Bochy are former big league catchers with strikingly similar career averages. Bochy batted .239 with 26 home runs and 93 runs batted in over nine years while Yost batted .212 with 16 home runs and batted in 64 runs over a six-year playing career. They both played for three different teams. They are both in the midst of managerial stints with their second ball clubs and are also both 59 years old.
Bochy managed the Giants to championships in 2010 and 2012. Immediately prior to the 2014 Spring Training schedule, he shared the same microphone with Allen in a suburban Phoenix baseball stadium at a roast as part of an RMEF gathering.
“My passion is hunting. A former teammate of mine, Goose Gossage, had a ranch in Colorado. We used it as therapy for after the season,” said Bochy. “In my office in San Francisco, I’m the only manager with an elk head hanging in his office.”
Yost, who has a World Series ring as Atlanta’s bullpen coach in 1995, is also well-known around baseball circles as an avid hunter. He also briefly enjoyed a second career as a taxidermist between his playing and coaching careers.
“Ned was a long-time friend and hunting partner of my friend (late NASCAR legend) Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. for many years,” said Allen. “They spent a great deal of time in the woods together.”
The manager who ends up winning this thing – this Athletics’ fan is still picking the Giants to win the next three and taking the series in five – should treat the loser to an offseason hunt somwhere.