Bud Black’s first official words as the manager of the Colorado Rockies came as he entered the Coors Clubhouse. Before taking the podium, as he walked into the room, he let out a loud, “Good morning!” with a big smile on his face.
On Monday morning, it was obvious that Black was happy to be at Coors Field and Rockies management was glad to have him there.
Black was introduced as Colorado’s seventh manager in its franchise history before a crowd of media and Rockies employees. Two things that jumped out at me about the press conference: An emphasis on Black’s experience and Black’s enthusiasm for the team and future. Nolan Lees detailed some positives about Black’s hire in this article.
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The 59-year-old Black joins the Rockies after spending the 2016 season as a special assistant to the general manager with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Black served as pitching coach for the Angels under Mike Scioscia (2000-2006), where he was part of the 2002 World Series championship team before beginning his Major League managerial career with the San Diego Padres (2006-2015).
“It’s not necessarily what Bud has done, but it’s what Bud will do and that’s what is so exciting,” said Jeff Bridich, Colorado’s general manager. “It’s the opportunity that we have in front of us. There is a shared excitement for what we have for the future here.
“It was easy to see through this process how much respect the industry has for Bud Black. It’s a proud day for the Rockies family. We are proud to welcome Bud to our Rockies family.”
One thing Black will be looking to do at Coors Field is erase the memories of losing Game 163 in 2007 and watching Colorado advance to the postseason over his San Diego Padres. He was asked on Monday if Matt Holliday really touched home plate on the slide that sent the Rockies to the postseason. Black smiled but chose his words carefully.
“We’ve talked about this often. Part of the interview was up in a suite and there are a number of pictures of Rockies history,” Black said. “All of the guys sat down and I sat down and staring at me right in the face was the Rockies dogpile on top of Holliday in Game 163.
“To this day, I don’t think he’s touched it. He’s a fine player. (Todd) Helton, Holliday, (Brad) Hawpe, it was a good group. It really was.”
Here are some of Black’s other notable quotes from Monday’s press conference.
On the importance of pitching
“You look at teams that win. From the pitching side, you have to be successful on the mound. In this day and age, you just can’t outslug teams. There are going to be more runs scored here (at Coors Field). The depth of the pitching staff has to be solid. You have to have one through 12 or one through 13 who have to be talented pitchers. You can’t have a weak link. The weak link can mean multiple runs. The starting staff is very critical. If they’re talented, they’re able to throw more innings. They’re able to throw more pitches deeper into the game. That lessens the impact on the number of relievers you have to use. It’s a depth of talent issue. That’s what you strive for. When you have that, you feel a good about the game.”
How would Black characterize his managing style?
“The on-field style is dictated by your players. Watching this group of players, you’ll see the same types of things you’ve seen. These guys play hard. They run the bases hard. My style, personally, with them on a day-to-day basis is about communication. I want to get to know them. We’re going to talk baseball and I’m going to teach and lead them. Players want that. The openness between player and manager and player and coach is essential in this day and age. If that’s a style, that’s probably mine.”
How differently do you anticipate managing at Coors Field rather than Petco Park?
“It’s a different game here than in other spots but it’s still baseball. It’s still a baseball game. Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose. The challenge for managers, coaches and even players at times here is how you work through a game that can get out of hand, the high-scoring game. Bullpen management is critical on a nightly basis. Knowing how to work through a bullpen tonight and how it will impact the bullpen tomorrow and the next day is important. Those are things that, as a visiting manager, you planned for, knowing you had a three- or four-game series in Colorado, you planned for that. Now we’ll do it more often because of a nine- or 10-game homestand.
“It’s a little different here, but it’s still baseball. It’s nine guys against the other nine guys. We’re hoping on most nights, whether it’s here or on the road, that our nine guys are better than theirs. If we use four or five guys out of the bullpen, our guys are better than theirs.”