While Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro announced the other day that manager Eric Wedge definitely will be retained through the rest of this season (Wedge is signed through 2010), another manager is close to landing some security of his own.
San Diego and manager Bud Black, whose deal expires after the 2009 season, are having ongoing conversations about a contract extension, and the two sides are hoping to reach an agreement sometime this month. There are still significant details to be worked out, such as length of the extension and salary. But there is desire on both sides to get it done, leading to the current optimism that it will get done.
"They should," veteran outfielder Brian Giles said. "We've got a lot of young guys, and that comes with a lot of growing pains. I think he's done a good job with the team they've put together."
The economically downsizing Padres weren't expected to contend this season. But they've played far better than expected following last year's 101-loss disaster. And handed a roster far more versatile than last summer's slow-footed, non-athletic group, Black has been able to expand his managing chops.
"I've seen him grow as a manager," said Padres closer Heath Bell who, like Black, arrived in San Diego in 2007. "He's gotten a little better with strategy each year. I've seen him do a little more each year."
Bell especially complimented Black's style of privately asking veterans for input at times and keeping them apprised of what he's thinking. Padres management was especially impressed when the normally low-key Black blistered his team following a sloppy, 0-6 trip through Houston and Chicago in May.
Following that, the Padres responded with a season-high 10-game winning streak and won 12 of 15.
"I think it would be good for the organization," if Black is retained, Bell said. "I think it would be pretty positive."
Likes: Eric Wedge mostly is getting killed by Cleveland fans right now. But I will say this: Whether he eventually stays or goes, it is nice to see an organization (and by that, I mean general manager Mark Shapiro, especially) take some of the responsibility for what's gone wrong instead of simply blaming it all on the manager. Fans love to see skippers get the ax, and often it's warranted. But it's rarely that simple. ... Very classy move by the Chicago White Sox in dedicating a memorial at U.S. Cellular Field to the late, legendary baseball writer Jerome Holtzman. The case, in the lobby area of the park, even includes a cigar among the typewriter and assorted other artifacts from the career of Holtzman, who passed away a year ago this month. ... Netflix the two-disc DVD from the old Johnny Cash Show and, if you like music, you will not be disappointed. It's a greatest-hits sort of collection from Cash's old television show that ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and among the guests are the Creedence Clearwater Revival (you sure don't get a chance to see them perform every day), a very young Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong (he seems like he was a very sweet man), a very young James Taylor, Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson, Derek and the Dominos, Ray Charles and many, many more. Very enjoyable. And I didn't realize how eclectic that show was back in the day when it came to various musical styles.
Dislikes: Really, really bad news: Sean Penn is out of The Three Stooges movie. Awwww.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long
"Caught somewhere between a boy and man
"She was seventeen and she was far from in-between
"It was summertime in Northern Michigan
"Splashing through the sand bar
"Talking by the campfire
"It's the simple things in life, like when and where
"We didn't have no internet
"But man I never will forget
"The way the moonlight shined upon her hair"
-- Kid Rock, All Summer Long