Reports out of Kansas City this week have indicated that Royals manager Ned Yost is something of a fortuneteller, a seer of future events. According to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star, Yost pulled shortstop Alcides Escobar aside in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS and predicted how his club would score.
Escobar was scheduled to bat third in the top of the ninth against Baltimore, and Yost wanted to share his vision.
Here is what will happen, Yost told him. Omar Infante will lead off with a hit. Yost will insert pinch runner Terrance Gore. Mike Moustakas will lay down a bunt. And then Escobar will record the hit that wins the Royals the second game of the American League Championship Series.
“Great plan,” Escobar replied.
Of course that’s how it unfolded.
Now, confirming a prediction in Magic 8-Ball Monthly, Yost has announced that he is “sharing this gift with the world.” What follows is correspondent Johnny Ondaspot’s exclusive account of the Prophet’s first public event.
KANSAS CITY—Royals manager Ned Yost gazed across the crowded room of eager supplicants, many of whom had traveled thousands of miles to heed his prophecies, and asked for the silence necessary for his endeavor.
“Only with your cooperation,” he announced to his ardent followers, packed into a conference room at the Ramada Kansas City Hotel and Conference Center on Shawnee Mission Parkway, “might I access the mystical sources that inspire – nay, supply – my capacities as an oracular agent, and thus issue the predictions that you have traveled so far to hear.”
Silence promptly followed. The lone sound came now from the washing of the Prophet’s feet – his right foot in Milanese gremolata olive oil and his left in Persian lime, each from The Olive Oilery in Overland Park.
Seated in a velveteen chair on an elevated stage, Yost cleared his throat and announced, “First, I predict that The Olive Oilery will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 to 5, and that its owners will eagerly renew their advertising contract in the coming year.”
Mystified, the audience gasped and murmured.
Yost looked down at his attendant and whispered, “Hey, c’mon, that tickles.”
Dressed in faux-gilded vestments and a costume-jeweled mitre featuring the likeness of Nostradamus, Yost reached down and swept a piece of toasted bagel through the Persian lime olive oil and drew it toward his parted lips.
“I am hungry,” he declared, nodding slowly and sweeping his eyes across the earnest faces. “And I will tell you that about two hours ago, I knew I would be.”
Again the crowd gasped and murmured. Some adherents nodded at one another, engaging in the mutual recognition of a faith affirmed, while others fainted, whereupon they were dragged into a double-occupancy and charged the standard room rate, which includes a continental breakfast.
Yost called out after them, “You will find that the bagels are delicious!”
Once more the people murmured, their eyes wide with wonder.
Risking censure, a disciple then asked, “How, oh Great One, did you know at such a preliminary stage that you would be hungry in two hours’ time?”
Yost finished chewing the bagel piece and gazed upon the apostle.
“Because,” he replied, “I ate only a Clif Bar for breakfast this morning.”
The disciples stared at the Prophet, as if waiting for more.
“Oh,” he quickly added, “and also because the spirits or whatever told me so.”
The people cried and wailed.
“And how,” asked another, teary-eyed, “did you know about the bagels?”
With his mouth again full, Yost replied, “Sm thngs ur budr luft unsud.”
Again they cried and wailed.
At the back of the room a door creaked open. A man stuck his head inside.
Glancing about, he asked, “Is this the Loebstein bar mitzvah?”
“No,” Yost replied from the elevated stage. “The Loebstein bar mitzvah” – he closed his eyes and pressed his fingers to his temples – “is scheduled for 5:30 this evening in Conference Room C, to be followed by a reception.”
Once more they wailed and shouted, now louder than before.
Yost nodded his approval and then adjusted his mitre, which, owing to the fact that The Kansas City Costumery hadn’t had his size, had just slipped down over his eyes. The Prophet cleared his throat. “I hereby predict that I won’t get my deposit back,” he announced, moments after using his oil-smudged fingertips to adjust the headwear, “because now my hat has a stain on it.”
The utterance sent the crowd into a frenzy. Some disciples cried, “How could he know such a thing?” while others shouted, “He might soon predict that he can get it out with bleach!” Dancing and singing and in some cases disrobing, the disciples howled, “Tell us what we need to know, or, more accurately, want we want to hear!” – all while tossing money orders and cashier’s checks and more than a few Discover cards in his direction.
After swatting a fly from the vicinity of his mitre, Yost gazed into the audience and pointed at a follower. “Step forward and ask your question.”
Bowing, the man asked, “Will the Cardinals or the Giants win the NLCS?”
Yost folded his arms and replied, “Yes.”
The disciples leapt and shouted. Some wept. Others touched themselves.
“Now you, step forward,” the Prophet said, pointing at a young woman.
Head bowed, she asked, “Did you know it would rain on Monday night?”
The Prophet nodded. “I did.”
She grabbed the room key from her cleavage and tossed it toward the Prophet. Tumbling, it fell to the carpeted stage with dozens of other keys.
Another woman screamed, “More! More! We must know more!”
The Prophet nodded. “This event,” he declared, “will end in two minutes.”
Two minutes later the doors opened. In walked a janitor, to prepare the room for the 5 p.m. meeting of the local chapter of Miracle Diets International.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.