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Bud Black discusses roster, coaching philosophy, and Arenado's future

Drew Creasman Avatar
December 13, 2018

LAS VEGAS – During a gathering of reporters at the Winter Meetings, Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black fielded a series of questions, many of which didn’t have much to do with the current makeup of his team or their future plans.

Still, there were some fun and interesting tidbits in the mix among the various topics of conversation.

Here are some of those statements.

On getting involved with front office decisions

“There’s a drastic change in the Winter Meetings now than back in the day. And even the last I’d say five years. But I still enjoy it. I still think there’s a place for a gathering of all of us. I think there’s a collection of us in the room that offer different perspectives on the direction of our team and our roster, Big League roster, even what’s going on in the minor leagues. I think the managers are a part of that collaboration. And I enjoy that.”

On Adam Ottavino’s recent comments that he would strike out Babe Ruth every time

“You know, Babe was pretty good down and in. That breaking ball coming down and into him. He might be able to get that at Yankee Stadium, or at Coors Field if Babe played at Coors. But I think the record speaks for itself. Babe was a pretty good hitter.”

On his own chances against the Babe

“I once threw a pretty good slider down and away to Babe that he had a pretty good swing on. He was a tough out for me. For the most part, I felt pretty comfortable against left-handed hitters, but Babe was always a challenge for me.”

On analytics driving the coach hiring decisions around baseball

“We’ll see going forward. But I like the creativeness of the thinking of those of us in this game from the people who were making hires, I think it shows that it’s not a closed box; it’s opened for whoever might have a skill set that a certain team is looking for or to give it a shot. And I think that’s great.”

On what he looks for in his own staff

“That’s a — I wouldn’t say it’s a tough question, but it’s really open ended. But for me I think — and I’ll say this: As long as I’m in this game, I think from a coaching perspective, I think there’s a teaching component that I think is real. So the coaches that I have, I want them to be regarded as teachers. I want them to teach our players.”

“I think there’s a leadership component that comes with a good coach. The ability to individually lead men or as a group lead a group. And I think there’s an aspect of coaching that is motivational, to be able to motivate players, inspire players. So those three aspects, I think, the teacher, leader, motivator.”

“I look at the qualities of that person as a coach. So to have those, that’s sort of the baseline of where I go from.”

“There’s also the knowledge, the credibility that where they’ve been to be able to get through to players.”

“I think there’s the interaction and the collaboration of the coaching staff is vital. But I do think that the diversity also of each coach is important, too.”

“But there’s a collectiveness to us that seven or eight guys as a coaching, Big League coaching staff, there every day with the players, that unit has to be together.”

On the ways in which managing has changed over the years

“I think as a manager or in any leadership position, I think you have to be really current with what’s evolving. You have to be aware of what’s happening in the game.”

“Do you change as a person? No. I mean, do you change in who you are on a day-to-day basis? No. I think there’s some principles that we all have about how to lead and what we do in our sport to get the most out of our players and the most out of our team.”

“But what it’s changed is I think that the front office dynamic has changed from my first year in 2007 and even going back to when I was with the Angels in 2000, when I really became part of the coaching staff.”

“So these last 18 years, we’ve seen the front office expansion of just people in the offices from the general manager to the many assistant GMs and all the people who are surrounding the GMs, the different departments, the analytics departments, strength and conditioning, medical staff, I mean, it’s a much bigger group of people on the baseball op side.”

“Even the coaching staff has expanded to assistant pitching coach, assistant hitting coaches. Eighth and ninth coaches across the board.”

“So with that, I think what has changed is your ability to manage all that and how we interact with all those different departments that are growing and being able to utilize all those departments in the present. Of everything that is happening. I think that is what’s changed. And I do think way back when there was only one time when you met with the media per day. Now it’s two, potentially three.”

(Sorry about that.)

On his relationship with Giants manager Bruce Bochy considering he may retire soon

“Well, I hope it’s not his last year. I truly mean that, because Bruce is — he’s great for the game. Because he’s a great manager. I think historically, what he’s done in his entire career, and more recently with the Giants winning three world championships, that’s fantastic work. That’s hard. I mean, it’s hard to win one let alone three.”

“And he’s done it. But my relationship with Bruce, especially the last number of years, has become a little closer. We’ve socialized more, doing some things in the offseason together with other guys.”

“But his impact has been a big one, I think, in the game, because I think a lot of other managers have looked at Bruce to see how he’s done things.”

“And for me there’s been in my career — and I’ll go back to my days with the Angels when he was managing the Padres, there’s been no better in-game manager strategically than Bruce.”

“I always felt as though when the game started, there was never going to be a mistake on his side. And there were many times when I thought we were going to be in a pretty good position to pinch-hit or a pitching change, but I wasn’t. So he’s very good in that regard.”

“And I think he brings a — I think there’s an old-school sturdiness to Bruce and a grittiness and a toughness that I admire, that I think is natural and genuine. And it’s good stuff, man. He’s a good guy. I think that’s the main thing.”

On covering his mouth when visiting the mound

“I don’t. I’m not sure I do.”

“I don’t think I ever have. So if there’s a lip reader, I’m in trouble. That might be the tenth coach, lip reader.”

On whether or not baseball is becoming more paranoid

“For sure. I think there’s a lot of inherent paranoia going on. And we’ve all talked about that as far as, because of technology, number of cameras, scouting, you know people really scouting the other teams from a different variety of perspectives. The camera technology has really made advances in the ability to maybe get some sensitive information.”

On the ongoing Nolan Arenado contract situation and whether that might be an on-field distraction in 2019

“Do I want him back? Absolutely. I think from my perspective, Nolan is very aware of our feelings. I’ll speak for everybody, coaching staff, players, Jeff, Dick, we’d love to have Nolan as a long-time Rockie.”

“To your first question, do you think it will affect Nolan, I don’t think so. I truly think that the best place for him all the time is on the field. That’s where he feels most comfortable. And I think that will continue to happen. I think his performance will be fine.”

“Will I get involved? Probably not — no, that’s something for — I think that’s really a small circle. That’s Dick and Jeff and Nolan and Nolan’s representative and probably — and the people that Nolan is closest to. I think that’s a pretty small group that when you really get down to it, those are the people in those conversations.”


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