Today I wanted to write an entry on the Padres’ manager, Harry Ralston “Bud” Black. Buddy doesn’t get that much publicity, maybe because he’s not a firery guy like a Lou Pinella. But he’s a great guy and a great manager.
Buddy was a pitcher in the Major Leagues for 15 years. He played with the Mariners, the Royals, the Indians, the Blue Jays, and the Giants. He was with the 1985 World Champion Kansas City Royals. After he was done pitching, he worked for the Royals as Special Assitant to the GM. After that, he spent seven years as pitching coach for the Anahiem Angels.
He is going into his third year as the Padres’ manager. His “rookie” season as a manager in 2007 was a very good one; he led the team to within one game of the playoffs. But 2008 was not so great. In no way do I blame him, though. He did the best he could with the few pieces he had. I believe that Buddy can lead a team to the World Series if he had the talent and players available to him. We saw what he did in 2007. He couldn’t control that Trevor blew the two saves at the end of the season. Sure, he could have taken Trevor out of the game in Game 163, but why should he have? That was the all-time saves leader out there. He should have been able to get the job done.
I really don’t think you can blame a manager for what’s going on with his team, unless it’s an obvious mistake on his part. What could Buddy have done last season? We didn’t have the money to get the players he needed. A bunch of his best players were getting hurt with freak injuries, like getting hit in the nose with a batted ball. There’s no way you can blame that bad season on your manager.
He’s a great manager. He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t get boiling mad at his players. Sometimes that might be a bad thing if the manager doesn’t fire up the team. But he can get very hot if he wants to. If there’s a bad play called against his players, he will go out there and calmly talk over it with the umpires. The burden of being a manager is huge, but Buddy takes is very well. He talks with the press almost every night, and he’s a great mentor to his players. He knows his pitching very well also, as he was a pitcher and a pitching coach. He knows what he’s doing out there.
This year is going to be a challenge for him. He’s going to have clubhouse full of rookies and young players. He will have a few veterans like Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles (real great role model), and Jody Gerut. But he won’t have Trevor Hoffman or Khalil Greene, or even Greg Maddux for that matter. It’s going to be a long year, but Buddy’s strong enough to handle this terrible team. And hopefully he will be able to get them up again. In a few years, with our new owner coming in, we might be able to get more money. With more money, we can get Buddy some better players. And maybe, someday soon, he will be able to lead us to our World Series.
(photo credit: cache.daylife.com)