We thought he had a great year and he’s only going to get better and better. He’s a pro, he’s smart, he represents the organization very, very well. The players like him. The longer he’s here and the more people get to know him they’re going to realize he’s a special guy.
I’m generally pleased with the job Black did in his rookie campaign, and it’s clear now that he was the right man to take over when Bruce Bochy bolted to San Francisco. Here’s what I said about Black when the Padres hired him in November 2006:
According to his Angels bio, Black hasn’t managed at any level. How much does that matter? Eh, the difference between “has fresh ideas” and “lacks experience” is about the same as that between winning and losing.
Was Black perfect? No. Nobody is. In the Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual, I take exception to moves he made (or didn’t make) in games on April 18 and July 3. But that’s twice in 163 games I felt compelled to whine about his decisions. I’m pretty sure I can live with that.
One aspect of Black’s brief tenure that I’ve enjoyed so far is the home runs. If you read many season previews right now, they’re spouting a bunch of nonsense about how the Padres have no power. It’s okay, they’re not well informed. They should be, but they’re not.
Anyway, I don’t know who’s responsible for this, but check out what’s happened under Black’s watch in terms of the big fly:
|Stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.|
Gomez and his .363 winning percentage remind us that outhomering the opposition ain’t the end-all and be-all. That said, Black’s Padres were the first to outscore the opposition at Petco Park. Here’s hoping Black can build on his initial success in ’08 and make the “experts” feel a little sheepish for picking the Padres to finish fourth in the division.