Tag:Bud Black
Posted on: May 9, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Black, Roenicke meet in tribute to Scioscia

MILWAUKEE -- Way back when Mike Scioscia was winning his first game as a manager, Bud Black and Ron Roenicke were at his side.

"I sent him a text, and told him, 'I still remember the first one,'" Black said Monday, a day after Scioscia's 1,000th career win.

Black was Scioscia's pitching coach for seven years, until he left to manage the Padres. Roenicke was an Angels coach for 11 years, until he left last winter to manage the Brewers.

Somehow, it seems appropriate that the day after his milestone win, two of his ex-coaches faced off as managers, with Black's Padres visiting Roenicke's Brewers Monday night.

There are three of them now, Black and Roenicke and Joe Maddon, a Scioscia coach for six years before he left for Tampa Bay.

Maddon has won a manager of the year award. Black won one last year.

And Scioscia is still winning games with the Angels.

"I knew [back then] that he was going to be a successful manager," Black said Monday.

Black and Maddon have met twice in interleague series, with the Padres winning two of three games each time. But, as Black pointed out, his record against Scioscia isn't nearly as good.

They met in one interleague series, in 2009. The Angels swept the series, outscoring the Padres, 26-7.

"When you work with someone, you know what they are . . . and you still can't stop him," Black said.

Posted on: April 19, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Hold off on judging Brewers, but not the manager

PHILADELPHIA -- It's too early to judge the Brewers.

It may not be too early to judge the Brewers' new manager.

We still haven't seen the Brewer rotation as it was designed, because we still haven't seen Zack Greinke throw a pitch for Milwaukee. We still haven't seen the Brewer lineup as designed, because Corey Hart still hasn't had an at-bat this year. We haven't even seen the Brewer bullpen as designed, because Takashi Saito appeared in just two games before going on the disabled list, and LaTroy Hawkins has yet to make his debut.

Within two weeks, the Brewers could have all those players back.

As infielder Craig Counsell said, "We're getting our team."

So no, we can't judge the Brewers yet, except to say that through all the injuries, they've hung in there so far in what is looking like a balanced (mediocre?) National League Central. Heading into play Tuesday night, the Brewers were 8-8, one game behind the first-place Reds.

So why does it feel like we can already start judging Ron Roenicke?

Simply because all the injuries, and everything else the Brewers have already gone through, makes it feel like he has already managed a lot more than 16 games.

"They haven't been easy," Roenicke said. "But the guys here, they've made it easy."

People around the Brewers say that those guys, the Brewer players, have taken to Roenicke in a way they didn't take to Ken Macha, the manager he replaced. They also say that Roenicke has already proven to have a trait that every good manager needs, the ability to stay consistent through good times and bad.

"Nothing ever festers or lingers with him," said John Shelby, who is on Roenicke's coaching staff as the Brewers' eye-in-the-sky. "You're not going to see him come in and tear up a locker room.

"There's no way you can tell anything different from [Monday] night's game [when the Brewers beat the Phillies in 12 innings] or the first day of the season, when we lost."

On the first day of the season, the Brewers didn't just lose. They blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning in Cincinnati, losing to the division rival Reds on Ramon Hernandez's three-run walkoff home run off closer John Axford.

Of the 29 other active managers in the big leagues, only two lost on a walkoff in their first game. Eric Wedge's 2003 Indians lost in 13 innings in Baltimore, while Ozzie Guillen's 2004 White Sox gave up six in the ninth and lost on a Carlos Beltran walkoff home run in Kansas City.

"I don't know if people think I can manage or not," Guillen told reporters that day.

Roenicke said nothing that colorful. He won't, but he seems as at ease dealing with the media as he does in dealing with his players.

And he's dealt with a lot already.

The difficult opening day loss began a four-game season-opening losing streak. Axford has struggled with his control in nearly every outing, and this week Roenicke had to deal with questions about whether he has a closer problem (he responded by expressing confidence that Axford will get straightened out).

Rival scouts have noticed. They also praise Roenicke for the multiple shifts he has used to help out the Brewers' subpar defense, and for the aggressive style he prefers on the basepaths.

None of that should come as a surprise. Roenicke coached under Mike Scioscia with the Angels, just as Joe Maddon and Bud Black did. And just as Maddon and Black have proven to be successful with the Rays and Padres, Roenicke looks like he could be a success with the Brewers.

The Angels connection is strong.

When a reporter asked Roenicke the other day about Carlos Gomez, Roenicke said that other players in baseball were off to slow starts, too.

The two players he mentioned: Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter, both of the Angels.

"I'm watching them," he admitted with a smile.

You can be sure they're watching him, too.

They'll keep watching, and in a couple of weeks they'll be watching a Brewers team with Greinke, Hart and the others.

They've done all right so far without them.

"I think we've handled it really well," Roenicke said. "Fortunately for us, they weren't year-ending things. [The players] know Zack's coming back. Hopefully, we'll get everyone healthy, and then we'll get on a roll."

Maybe then, we'll know what kind of team the Brewers have.

We already have an idea what kind of manager they have.

Posted on: November 17, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Manager of the Year (except October), Part III

Congratulations to Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire, deserving winners of the Manager of the Year awards.

Now, for the third straight year:

The system needs changing.

In the current baseball world, the world of a three-tiered playoff system, managers of top teams are judged at least as much by what they do in October as by what they do for the six months before October. And yet, the Baseball Writers Association of America still decides the Manager of the Year awards based only on the regular season.

It's possible that Black still wins in the National League, because keeping that Padres team alive in the playoff fight until the very last day of the season was hugely impressive. But don't you think Bruce Bochy, who finished a distant third in the voting (behind Black and Dusty Baker) gets strong consideration to win it if you include October.

Simple question: Of all the managers in the National League, who had the best season (including the postseason)? It may well have been Bochy.

As for the American League, Gardenhire was a fairly close winner over Ron Washington, which was just about right if you include the regular season only. Gardenhire's Twins lost closer Joe Nathan in spring training, and they won 94 games, third in the AL behind the Rays and Yankees.

Add in the postseason, though, and I'll guarantee you that award goes the other way. Gardenhire's Twins had yet another first-round disappointment against the Yankees, while Washington pulled the Rangers past both of the AL East powerhouses.

Black and Gardenhire had outstanding years. Bochy and Washington were better.

The system, as of now, doesn't allow us to recognize that.

 
 
 
 
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