The Royals Fire Another Manager

May 17, 2010 – 11:00 am by timgunter

The Kansas City Royals fired Trey Hillman last week, making him the first MLB manager to get let go of this season.  Adding a few new pieces and having Zach Greinke back following his Cy Young Award from last season, was reason for Kansas City to have higher expectations heading into the season.  But the Royals slow start to the season made it seem like they took a step back so they thought that it was time to fire the manager, again, and hire former Brewers manager, Ned Yost.

Yost is now the franchise’s thirteenth manager since Dick Howser took them to their lone World Series title back in ‘85.  How do they expect to get any better when they have a new manager every two years or so?  Being one of the American League’s smallest market teams doesn’t help them at all when it comes to free agents.  Most free agents would rather take less money so that they don’t have to play in what has become the laughingstock of MLB.  Having this loser image doesn’t seem to bother the Royals at all, but they might have made their best move yet in hiring Yost.  Yost has been part of rebuilding a franchise while he was with the Braves and during his recent stint in Milwaukee.  He takes over a team that is last in the American League Central at 14-24 and he feels that he can turn things around because he has done it before, but not in Kansas City.

Trey Hillman joined WHB in Kansas City to talk about what it was like to manage his last game and then have the press conference that he was being let go, whether he did anything specific by himself before the game knowing that it was his last game managing, and whether he thinks that the organization is committed to winning.

What it was like to manage his last game and then have the press conference that he was being let go:

“Well it was a new experience.  It is challenging, you are wondering if you are ever going to get through it especially with keeping a poker face on so to speak.  Certainly didn’t want it to get out for the obvious reasons.  The thing that kept clicking in my mind was the appreciation that I had for the opportunity in the first place, looking around the stadium, the appreciation for the big league atmosphere.  It was a perfect day for it to be kid’s day out there quite frankly.  I mean there is a little irony there because having grown up in Arlington, Texas, and having an opportunity to grow up in a major league ballpark and still at forty-seven years old a major league manager and remembering the excitement of being at a ballpark and how oblivious I was as a kid on most days I was competitive and most days it was the enjoyment of being at the ballpark.  I didn’t really care whether our team won or not.  I was there to support them whether they won or they lost.  It was an appreciation that I have gotten to do what I have done for the last twenty years in little, bitty A-ball towns, and AA venues and AAA across the ocean in Japan and certainly here in Kansas City.  There was a flood of emotions, but thankfully nobody found out before the appropriate times.  Like I said yesterday, I met with the staff and the players right after the game and informed them and I came and met with the media.”

Whether he did anything specific by himself before the game knowing that it was his last game managing:

“I didn’t get a lot of time by myself yesterday just because the sequence of events.  I didn’t get much time by myself until about three o’clock this morning.  You have to, at least in the way that my mind works, you have to be appreciative of that because there is people that really desire to spend time with you, people that want to express their appreciations and people that have emailed and texted back, that is going to take a few days.  A lot of people have extended their sympathies and their support and their appreciation and those are all nice things.  They are nice things in light of obviously a bad thing that happened because you want to stay and you want to see it through, you want to do it.  It is just the way that you are wired when you have jobs like this.  You just got to kind of keep it in perspective and look forward to what is next.  What is next for me is, as I sifted through it last night and decided exactly what I was going to do and what I when I was going to do it.  The biggest thing right now is my family.  I need to see my wife and my kids and we miss out.  We miss out on a lot of things and I am looking forward to going home and doing some pressing right now and I will tie some loose ends up at a later time ,but back in a few items and I am sure that I will be back for a few times, kind of close off this chapter and see what is next.”

Whether he thinks that the organization is committed to winning and doing whatever it takes:

“I hope so guys.  I can’t give anyone a definitive answer on that.  I can only say that in my experience in working with the Glass family that they have treated me outstanding, they really have.  They treated me with class.  I got a lot of face time with both the Chairman, David Glass, and obviously, the President, Dan, but they have got a specific way that they want to do it as far as shelling out the dollars.  Dayton and I have talked about that many, many times.  Both of our minds, from the standpoint of how we do our individual jobs, well I did my individual job.  Sometimes there are limitations.  In this market we aren’t going to spend like the Yankees or Boston or even what Minnesota is doing this year.  At the end of the day I have always had respect for owners.  I have worked with Mr. Steinbrenner.  At the Major League level I have worked for him for thirteen years.  I have seen variances in that but at the end of the day It is not my money.  It is not my money.  It is their money and it is their business.  There have been markets comparable to our size that have built from within and have been able to click as we wanted to click with some of the deals that we have made…  If people are supportive, and I am not so naïve, some people are happy I am gone.  I get that.  I would have made different moves from their chair or their seat for us to be successful.  Some people are looking at ownership…  I am not a finger pointer, I try not to be.  I point my finger a lot when I get into an argument with an umpire.  I am not into pointing fingers and placing blame…”

Trey Hillman on WHB in KC with the Border Patrol

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