KANSAS CITY -- It turns out the Wild Card game between the A’s and Royals was a battle of friendly neighbors.
A’s left-hander Jon Lester, who started that do-or-die game for Oakland, owns a farm in Georgia just down the road from Royals manager Ned Yost.
“We’ll get together when we get home,” Yost said before Wednesday’s Game 7 World Series contest against the Giants. “His farm’s about a half a mile from mine.”
The two occasionally go hunting together in the offseason, and they share a groundskeeper who does work on each of their properties. As the postseason was drawing near, Yost’s wife, Deborah, called the groundskeeper about getting some work done on the Yost farm.
The only problem was, Lester also wanted work done on his property, and both he and Yost were hoping to get it done before they returned home for the offseason.
“Right before the Wild Card game, I called Larry (the groundskeeper) and said, ‘Look, you can take your time on mine. But you better hurry up on Jon’s,’” Yost said with a laugh. “That was wishful thinking, and luckily it worked out.”
A’s fans don’t need to be reminded how the AL Wild Card game played out, and why Lester got to his farm first. The A’s jumped out to a 7-3 lead, only to see the Royals mount a comeback (which began with Lester still pitching) and eventually knock off Oakland 9-8 in 12 innings.
It’s unlikely that their friendship would sway Lester, one of this winter’s top free agents, to become a Royal. Kansas City is braced to lose its own ace pitcher, James Shields, to the open market because he’ll get lucrative offers outside of the Royals’ payroll range. Lester also is expected to land a mega-deal somewhere, but it doesn’t figure to be with Kansas City (or Oakland for that matter).