Royals manager Ned Yost spends most of his year directing the fortunes of the Kansas City baseball club. But for as much of the offseason as possible, and certainly during the holidays, his farm in Georgia is the center of his life. This year, though, he tells us that the holiday plans for him, his wife, Deborah, and their families are a bit different.
MLB.com: How has your family usually celebrated Christmas?
Yost: We have four kids and now a grandbaby. On Christmas Day, we would do Christmas at my house and we'd drive over to my mom's house -- she and my sister are both in Georgia now and I've got two brothers in California -- and that's my side of the family. And generally what we'd do on Deborah's side of the family, which is a much bigger group, is celebrate three or four days before Christmas. But this year, because my niece is on a mission to Turkey and doesn't get home until Christmas, we're going to do that family get-together a couple of days after Christmas.
MLB.com: But there's also a different approach to your Christmas, too, isn't there?
Yost: Normally everybody comes here to the farm and all the boys are hunting or fishing or doing whatever, and we build a big bonfire every night and have a good time. Everybody enjoyed themselves -- we have a nice 4-wheeler and you can get on the buggies and ride around. We've got satellite TV to watch college football. But we've moved and the house we were in before was big enough to hold everybody, but the one we're in now is not. So we're all going to go to New Orleans where Deborah's sister and her family live so the families are going to meet there which is kind of a central location. We've got a family in Alabama, a family in Mississippi, some in Louisiana and of course us in Georgia. It's a pretty big conglomeration of us.
MLB.com: I'll bet the family has a great time, doesn't it?
Yost:It is a lot of fun. The kids are all getting older so it's a different group than when they were all in their teens or in their pre-teens. But it's a real fun time.
MLB.com: How different is this type of Christmas from the ones you had as a kid in California?
Yost: This is a lot bigger. When I was a kid, it was just your family. Just me and my brothers, my sister and my mom and dad. We never went anywhere, we just had Christmas on Christmas morning. Now it's kind of like a Christmas week, if you will. We've got the families coming and going on my side and Deb's side, so Christmas is celebrated on a week-long period compared to just waking up on Christmas morning and celebrating with just your family.
MLB.com: What's your favorite part of Christmas?
Yost: Just seeing everybody. You know, my life's so hectic the majority of the year so you don't get a chance to get involved with family where it's real laid-back and everybody's enjoying each other's company, and having fun and just doing whatever they want to do. The guys are all older and you can communicate on a more even level ... so you just catch up with everybody. And Deborah's very close with her sisters so they have a phenomenal time with all the girl cousins.
MLB.com: What's the menu going to be like?
Yost: When they come to the farm, it's always the traditional turkey, ham, deviled eggs, potato salad. But one night, we also have a big deer meal and everybody loves that with french fries and hush puppies. But because we have more of a New Orleans flavor this year, there will be a lot of fish -- a lot of fried fish. My brother-in-law lives on a huge lake there and they catch those sea trout, and they're phenomenal for a fish fry.
MLB.com: It sounds like you and your family are going to have a wonderful time during the holidays.
Yost: This is a special time for families and the Royals feel that the entire city and area is part of our family. So in this holiday season, I'd like to wish my Kansas City family a Merry Christmas.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.