Black finalist for NL Manager of Year Award

Skipper led Rockies to postseason in first year at helm

November 6th, 2017

DENVER -- Bud Black, who took over as manager of the Rockies in 2017 and led them to their first postseason appearance since '09, was named Monday as a finalist for the Baseball Writers Association of America National League Manager of the Year Award.

All three finalists managed teams in the tight NL West. The others were the Dodgers' Dave Roberts, who won the award last year and led the Dodgers this season to Game 7 of the World Series before they fell to the Astros, and first-year D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, whose team finished second in the NL West, a spot ahead of the Rockies.

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Black, who won the award as manager of the Padres in 2010, led a Rockies team that often had four rookies in its starting rotation to an 87-75 finish -- the team's first winning season since '10. The Rockies lost to the D-backs, 11-8, in the NL Wild Card Game.

Black was challenged from the start.

Right-handed pitcher , expected to be a leader in the starting rotation, was diagnosed with testicular cancer during the offseason and learned during Spring Training that he would need chemotherapy -- a procedure that would keep him out of the Majors until August. No. 1 pitcher suffered a right foot stress fracture in mid-April, lefty needed knee surgery in July and right-hander had control problems, plus a right calf injury. Additionally, free-agent signee broke his hand in Spring Training and missed the first month before going on the disabled list twice with right calf strains.

But Black, a former Major League pitcher and pitching coach, directed a young team that thrived because of pitching -- something that usually doesn't happen when the home is Coors Field. In fact, five pitchers who during the season were 25 and younger -- Gray, righties , and , and lefty -- combined to go 48-32.

The Rockies spent much of the first half battling at the top of the NL West, and they held onto playoff position essentially throughout the year. The Rockies finished a game ahead of the Brewers for the second NL Wild Card spot.

Before the Wild Card Game, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said Black's unique way of keeping a team loose, while also having players ready to turn it up come game time, was evident as far back as Spring Training. A team archery tournament, a day in which a local rancher brought one of his cattle to the Spring Training facility and a map put together by rookies to show the hometown of every player might not be worth runs, but it helped foster teamwork.

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"To have somebody like Buddy with experience in that and also have a sense of humor about it, and that he's willing to share and inject some goofiness and inject some levity and some humor into the days, I think that goes a long way," Bridich said. "Also, the fact that he's so very in tune to pitching and catching."

Third baseman commended Black on the spirit he instilled.

"I'm happy for Buddy," Arenado said. "He did a great job, brought energy and intensity that a young team needed. He was great. He deserves the recognition and the Manager of the Year Award."

Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon added, "I'm very proud of Buddy. In one short year he was able to accomplish a lot. I'm very happy that he's being considered for this award. And I think he should win it."