Give [Padres GM Kevin] Towers credit for making an inspired choice in Black. (Towers also gave some consideration to Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey as his replacement for manager Bruce Bochy, who signed with the Giants.) Black has front office experience with the Indians and attracted some interest from the Red Sox as the replacement for manager Grady Little in 2004.
"Playing in Petco Park, we play at least 81 games where runs are hard to come by and about one-third of our games overall are decided by one or two runs," Towers says. "So the manager has to be very good about knowing when to leave a starter in and when to go to the bullpen. Buddy gives us that. Plus, he's a progressive thinker who's not afraid to think outside the box."
For instance, Black mentioned Brian Giles as "a possibility" as his leadoff hitter because of his excellent on-base percentage. Black more likely will choose from among Marcus Giles and Terrmel Sledge for the job, but even giving consideration to Brian Giles atop the lineup is an inspired bit of thinking among his fraternity.
Wow, maybe this managing thing isn't so hard after all.