DENVER — The Colorado Rockies introduced Bud Black as the seventh manager in club history at a press conference Tuesday.
“I’m very honored to be the Rockies manager,” Black said. “I’m looking forward to it with a great deal of excitement, this city in a lot of ways is special to me.”
Black comes to Colorado after a 14-year big league career on the mound and nine years managing the San Diego Padres, a tenure that saw him win the NL Manager of the Year award in 2010 and compile a 649-713 overall record.
“It’s not necessarily what Bud has done,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. “But what Bud will do, and that’s what’s so exciting.”
Bridich said he heard positive things about Black from all corners of the baseball world, both during the hiring process and after the news of Black’s hiring broke Sunday night.
“It was easy to see through this process how much respect the industry has for both Bud Black and his wife, Nan,” Bridich said. “People literally won’t leave me alone, they won’t leave my phone alone and they haven’t left my phone alone.”
Black said he was excited to come to a team with a fan base that covers a large portion of the country rather than just one local area.
“That’s sort of cool, you know Wyoming, you think about New Mexico, Utah, Nebraska, I dig that, that’s cool. I like the regional-ness of this franchise,” Black said.
Black managed 78 games at Coors Field with the Padres, going 33-45. Among those games was the Wild Card tiebreaker in 2007 in which the Rockies beat the Padres 9-8 in 13 innings when Matt Holliday scored on a sacrifice fly.
“To this day, I don’t think (Holliday’s) touched (the plate,)” Black said.
Black said he is undaunted by managing at Coors Field full time, acknowledging that while some things may be different at altitude, it is still the same game.
“It’s a little different here because of the conditions,” Black said. “But it’s still baseball and at one time it’s one nine guys against the other nine guys and we’re hoping that on most nights whether here or on the road our nine guys are better than theirs.”
With that in mind, Black said he did not think that there was any sort of magic formula for success pitching at Coors Field, except for one.
“You know what works here?” Black said. “Good pitching, and making pitches, and getting outs. That’s what we have to do, I don’t think we have to change anybody, we gotta make guys better, and these guys are pretty good to start with.”
With the Rockies slant toward analytics under Bridich, Black said that is a part of the game his is familiar with and is not afraid to use.
“There’s no doubt that analytics today is a part of our game,” Black said. “I think it’s great, I embrace it. I love information, I love the data, I like numbers. I was much better at math than I was in English.”
Black knows who three of his staff members will be, as the Rockies retained pitching coach Steve Foster, bullpen coach Darren Holmes and third base coach Stu Cole. Black said he will work with Bridich and the Rockies’ front office to select the rest of the team’s coaches.
This is the first time since hiring Buddy Bell for the 2000 season that the Rockies have brought in a manager with no previous experience in the organization. Bridich said that was not a consideration in the hire, but that he will appreciate another perspective.
“It’s important for us to continue to keep learning,” Bridich said. “I can’t tell you how many people, to a man, have told me, ‘It’s tough for me to explain how much I’ve learned from Bud Black.’”
Black was certainly not shy about his ambitions with the Rockies, as he set an ambitious, but realistic, end goal.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get back to where this team was in ‘07, and that’s the World Series,” Black said.