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Sky Sox hitting coach Ned Yost IV shares bond beyond baseball with father, manager of the Royals

June 17, 2017 Updated: June 19, 2017 at 6:14 am
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Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost stands for a moment a silence for Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura before the team's spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Surprise, Ariz. Ventura died in a car crash last month in his native Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Ned Yost and his oldest son Ned Yost IV's names are not the only thing that ties the two together.

Baseball bonds them as well.

Yost IV's entire life has been surrounded by baseball. When he was born on July 8, 1982, his dad was playing catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. And through his young adult life, his father was a major or minor league coach.

Since baseball has been one of the centerpieces of Yost IV's life, he became a baseball coach like his dad. He is currently in his ninth season as a minor league coach and his first year as the hitting coach for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Under his tutelage, the Sky Sox have blasted 60 home runs and have six players with a batting average better than .300.

Yost is in his 14th year of managing a big-league team and his eighth season with the Kansas City Royals.

Also like his father, Yost IV played professionally before coaching. But unlike his dad, who played six seasons in the majors, Yost IV played three years in the minors.

In 2008, Yost IV's last professional season, he came to a realization that led him to where he is today.

Yost was in his final season as the manager for Milwaukee and the team told him that they wanted his son to be a coach for the organization. Yost told the Brewers he would talk to Yost IV about the possibility.

"Of course, he wanted to continue playing," Yost said. "Like all people who played professional baseball, he had a dream to maybe playing in the big leagues one day."

After conversing with his father, the younger Yost realized he might never make the major leagues.

So the next day, Yost IV went to the ballpark and started his coaching career.

"I think I made the right decision," Yost IV said.

The younger Yost picks his dad's brain on topics that range from hitting to managing techniques every week.

His dad has offered advice like, "Be aggressive, don't be afraid of mistakes" and "Just remember that the game is hard" over the years.

But advice is not the only topic of conversation. They also reminisce about the past.

An MLB coach since 1991, it was hard for Yost to not watch his three sons and daughter grow up.

Half the time, Yost was gone for a road series and the other half he was at the ballpark. But during his time as an Atlanta Braves coach, the club made sure he and the rest of the staff and players were able to create family memories.

"Those trips, they were special," Yost said of the Braves' policy to allow family members to travel with the team twice per season. "(Yost IV) and his brother Josh, they would go for sometimes 10 days because we would go to three different cities. They would come to the ballpark with me and go out and shag fly balls. They would be out there for batting practice, in uniform.

"So, being able to take time out and have them come out on the road with you for seven or 10 days, it was a great thing to do."

Being around guys like Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez, Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones sticks out in Yost IV's mind. But there is one trip he took that will stand above the rest.

When Yost IV was 10 or 11, he and his brothers decided to use one of their Braves trips to go to Montreal. On that excursion, he encountered the French language for the first time.

"I'm like, 'What are these people saying?'" Yost IV said on hearing French-Canadians talk for the first time.

Yost IV was also the bat boy for Atlanta on that trip.

He was sitting near the net and there was a large group of Montreal fans behind it. The group could speak both English and French, going back and forth between the two.

Since they were behind him, Yost IV and the group would have conversations. They asked him questions.

At the end of the game, the group wanted Yost IV to sign the sign that they held up and hollered about after every half-inning. Yost IV respectfully declined because he didn't know what one of the words meant.

"It could have been some bad French word or something," Yost IV said.

After the game against Montreal, Yost asked Yost IV how he did as the bat boy. Yost IV responded with the typical "Fine". But he also told his dad about how the group of the Expos fans who wanted him to sign their poster.

Yost then asked why Yost IV he didn't sign it and he responded that he didn't know what it said. So, his dad asked him what it said. Yost IV told him and Yost pondered it for a second.

"(Yost) goes, 'That was ESPN In Your Face,'" Yost IV recalled. "Remember the old commercials that went 'ESPN In Your Face?' So, yeah, I felt pretty stupid after that. But 10 or 11 at the time being around French-Canadians, I didn't know what it meant."

Yost IV may have some aspirations to become a big league manager one day. If he gets there, his dad believes Yost IV would make a good manager.

"He has the hitting coach experience, which is very, very valuable," Yost said. "Now, he is coaching third base in Triple-A level while being around a manager that has as much experience as Rick Sweet. To gather information and to watch and learn, the huge part of my managing learning came from watching Bobby Cox for 12 years. It's an invaluable tool to be with somebody as experienced, who is willing to share his knowledge like Rick is. With Ned's work ethic and now with experience being a hitting coach before and now a third base coach, it's great experience."

While Yost IV's future is uncertain, he is enjoying his time doubling as the Sky Sox third base coach. It's the closest to being a player in his opinion.

Baseball is a part of the foundation of the Yosts' father-son relationship. While it seems like Yost IV has been following in his dad's footsteps, he isn't. According to Yost IV, his dad hasn't influenced any of decisions in baseball. He has been more of a helping hand.

But there is one thing for certain - Yost IV would not be the man he is today without his father.

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