If the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson doesn’t make a spectacular, game-saving catch on Sunday is Bud Black managing the Padres on Monday?
Did Black, who fell on the sword for the organization for so many years, deserve to be cut?
But the Padres tangle with the A’s tonight with a new man on the top step: Dave Roberts
Roberts is known as “Doc” and can someone please dissect this move for us?
The Padres fired Black on Monday and we get it. But we don’t. We comprehend big expectations followed this club home from spring training. And while it stands six games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers, its but four games out of a wild card berth.
If Pederson doesn’t go Willie Mays, circa 1954, the Padres would have taken two of three from the Dodgers. Instead they took an odd route to the rest of the year, letting a good man highly respected around the Major Leagues go. Black, the 2010 NL Manager of the Year, deserved better.
For too long he was given lemons and ask to whip up some champagne. He was presented with a rosters better suited for the minors, and somehow kept the Padres competitive. Not in the long run of the standings, mind you. But the Padres were always a tough out.
Other managers always mentioned the high regard they held Black in, noting while most played with a full deck he had two cards and some dice.
But the Padres always competed and never quit. They just weren’t quite good enough and over 162 games, no manager can disguise that.
So after the offseason overhaul, the Padres let dreams cloud reality. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t close to the Dodgers, either. We’ve seen that first-hand as the Dodgers have taken all four series this year.
And at what position would you trade a Padre for a Dodger? I can’t think of one either, although a case could be made, we guess, at left field and catcher. Otherwise the Dodgers are the superior team and usually, that team comes out on top.
The wrap on Black was he wasn’t fiery enough. That he was perfect example of nice guys bringing up the caboose. We roll our eyes at that because one doesn’t win 121 Major League games, like Black did, without being ultra-competitive and what it takes to excel.
Black surprised the San Dieguito Academy basketball team last season before one of its games. He entered the locker room and spoke to the boys, using language that was a tad more salty than what they usually heard. Black was fired-up. Black was on-point. Black was painting the picture for the teenagers of what it took to be their best.
Not only did SDA win, it scored a season-high 86 points.
We understand the difference between hoops and baseball. But a leader is usually just that, regardless of the setting.
Is Black blameless?
We can look at Sunday’s odd decision of yanking starter James Shields as a prime example.
But this club has been, for stretches, without Wil Myers, minus Brandon Morrow and looking at Yonder Alonso in street clothes. We’re not sure what’s up with Matt Kemp and if he’s feeling bad for letting down Black, he should.
So the Padres move on, with Oakland in town for a two-game series. They do so without a fine man, and a fine manager, in Harry “Bud” Black.