Late last night while most of us were enjoying sleepy time, news broke that the Washington Nationals would make former Padres Manager Bud Black their manager of the future. His first task will be restoring calm to the clubhouse, which might seem to us outsiders as something right up Black's alley.
Black will be tasked with restoring relationships in the clubhouse and leading the Nationals to the playoffs again after a disastrous 2015 season. Considered a preseason World Series favorite, the Nationals sputtered because of injuries, under-performance, roster holes and managerial issues, finishing 83-79 and missing the playoffs. Williams’s relationships with some players frayed deeper into the season, and his handling of the pitching staff often was questioned.
But in a recent chat with UT writer Jeff Sanders, I learned that while Black is known as an experienced coach who communicates well with players and media, he may shy away from confrontation.
Black was really well liked in that clubhouse, but even he had his shortcomings. Said to be a manager who didn't exactly meet confrontations head on and looked for some issues to work themselves out. We saw this play out in some regard a number of times he opted against hitting players lower in the order during slumps.
Well I suppose that's one way to keep the players liking you. I'm not sure how much this affected the Padres record, but it's interesting nonetheless. Myself I always liked Black, even if he was a bit stuck in his ways when it came to managing a game.
Funny thing is I could totally see the #Padres hiring Bud Black if they didn't just fire him.— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) October 14, 2015