For Pete's Sake

One silver lining from Ned Yost’s near-death experience: He quit chewing tobacco

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost smiles while walking off the field after leaving starting pitcher Heath Fillmyer in the game against the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning on Wednesday August 8, 2018 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost smiles while walking off the field after leaving starting pitcher Heath Fillmyer in the game against the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning on Wednesday August 8, 2018 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Doctors never explicitly told Royals manager Ned Yost that he should quit using chewing tobacco, but he knew it himself.

After the 2017 season, Yost had decided he would kick the habit. But then came the tough part: actually stopping.

“I was trying to figure out how I was going to quit, because there are two things in this world that I’m addicted to: Copenhagen long cut and Wintergreen Life Savers,” Yost said last month. “That’s it. I can’t stop eating the Wintergreen Life Savers when I start. I put 10 of them in my mouth and chomp them, then grab 10 more.

“But I’m trying to figure out, ‘OK, how am I going to quit (tobacco).’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll get to January or before I get to spring training and figure it out.’ Then God said one day, ‘You want to quit chewing? Here, climb up that tree.’”

That tree was on his farm in Georgia, and you probably know the story by now.

Yost fell about 20 feet from a tree stand in early November and his pelvis was shattered. Yost had emergency surgery to save his life and went five days without eating or drinking anything while in the hospital.

“My mouth felt like a handful of dirt,” Yost said. “When I finally got out of the hospital, which was like nine or 10 days, I’m like, ‘OK, well I’m 10 days without a dip, the hell with it. I’m just not doing it again.’ I haven’t done since the day that I fell out of the tree.

“I’m tempted to do it, but I’m not one of those guys who can have two dips a day. It’s in my mouth all day long. Love it.”

Royals coaches Mitch Maier and Dale Sveum chew tobacco but that hasn’t made Yost want to start again.

However, Yost loves the aroma and knows once he’s back on the farm, it’ll be a challenge to stop himself from driving into town and buying a couple of rolls of tobacco.

“When Dale opens it, I can smell it on the bench,” Yost said as he inhaled deeply. “But the killer’s gonna be hunting season. You get up in a tree and fire in a big dip and sit there and relax.

“But I’m done now.”

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