SAN FRANCISCO - His team had just taken it on the chin to the tune of 11-4 in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night, yet it seemed as if it would take real effort to wipe the smile off Ned Yost's face.
The Royals manager even uttered this memorable line: "I've never felt so good about getting my tail whooped in my life."
To be clear, Yost would have felt better in victory. But the 60-year-old has experienced a bit of a transformation this postseason. Known as being prickly and sensitive at times in his dealings with the media, and not always hiding that side from his players, Yost has appeared more at ease this month.
Hence, his big-picture approach in the moments after Game 4, one in which his club saw the Giants score 10 unanswered runs to erase a 4-1 deficit after three innings and even up the series.
"We got our tails whipped today, but it's Game 4 of the World Series, we're tied 2-2. How much more fun can that be?" Yost said. "There is nothing better in the world . . . This is a phenomenal series."
Asked a day later about his comments, Yost said it's part of a promise he made to himself when the Royals qualified for the postseason as one of the AL's two wild-card teams.
"You know, when this started, I really tried to get myself in the mind-set that I was going to have fun," Yost said, acknowledging that the tall tasks posed by the Angels in the Division Series and Orioles in the ALCS didn't always make it easy. "But I just made an effort that I'm going to slow down and I'm going to enjoy this to the max."
He's had plenty to enjoy, as the Royals won their first eight postseason games. And part of being able to appreciate the moment comes from the attitude projected by his clubhouse.
"All of my boys in that locker room have a deep feeling in their heart that they're going to win the World Series, and if you have that feeling, a loss doesn't matter," Yost said. "If you believe you're going to win, one loss, two losses doesn't matter. It's a seven-game series; you've got to win four. So you just go out, play your hearts out, and whatever happens happens. All the ingredients are there for it to be successful. Again, my team's loose, they're confident."
First baseman Eric Hosmer said Yost's "enjoy it" mantra has spilled over to the team. The Royals are a cross-section of players, many of whom, like Hosmer, are homegrown, but there also is a heavy international presence, and a veteran one, too.
"You just try to enjoy every minute of it," Hosmer said before Game 5. "You realize there are guys in our locker room that are 32, 36 years old that this is their first time experiencing this. So you realize how lucky and how fortunate you are as a player to be in this position. Most of us, everybody on the team pretty much has really had a good attitude with this. We want to enjoy every moment of it."
As much as Yost clearly is enjoying it, he said much of that derives from watching his players.
"It's just the experience, I think, not as much for myself, personally, but just watching the players enjoy this and watching them kind of revel in the attention and enjoy playing in the World Series," Yost said. "I mean, that's a tremendous joy for me to sit back and watch, and watch them play."
And, no, he hasn't been storing the memorabilia.
"No, I haven't kept a thing," Yost said with a smile. "I haven't even gotten a World Series ball. I've kept the cork from one of the champagne bottles is the only thing I've kept until this point, but it's been fun. A lot of fun."