That was quite a 24 hour span for San Diego State athletics.
First, SDSU Men's Basketball team went up to Gonzaga and upset the #11 Bulldogs. Announcers at the game called it the biggest win in the Aztec programs history. I went to the University of Arizona so I am by no means an Aztec sports historian but I know beating a Top 15 team on their home floor is big no matter what. So nice work Aztecs!
Then, about 12 hours later San Diego State alum Bud Black won the Baseball Writers of America Association's National League Manager of the Year Award. Not only did he win the award, but he won it by one vote. One total vote between Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds and our own Buddy Black.
I tweeted this morning that if Bud Black didin't win this award then they should just retire the award as it would be meaningless at that point. Perhaps that was a little rash as followers pointed out the deserving resumes of Dusty Baker and Bruce Bochy. But, I do stand by the fact that Bud Black deserved it and I'm thrilled that he won.
Some, though a minority, will say how the Padres played .500 ball from Aug. 1 on. Or how they lost a 7 game lead in the West. They will tell you that the Padres didn't make the playoffs and since they didn't Bud Black did not deserve this honor.
Fair enough...I guess.
But let's look at the case FOR Bud for one second:
$38 million payroll = 90 wins. Good for 29th out of 30 teams in team payroll. As a comparison, here are players that $38 million can get you:
1) Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher
2) JD Drew, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre
3) Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and some gum
4) Dog and a beer at a baseball game (Am I right people?!?!)
The San Diego Padres were predicted to come in dead last in the NL West. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports predicted 68 wins for the Padres. I recall vividly watching the MLB Network 30 Teams in 30 Days where they said the Padres would be better BUT finish with less wins then 2009. Or this. The Padres increased their win total by 15 games despite having a new GM and having just traded away a Cy Young winner.
And this was all before 2010 started.
Remember when Kyle Blanks was going to play Left Field and protect AGon? Or how Everth Cabrera was going to continue developing and Chris Young was to be the ace of the pitching staff. I'll spare you the history lesson but none of those things really panned out.
Remember, those who would question Bud Black winning this award. It's Manager of the YEAR not Manager of September. And there is no playoff prerequisite.
So, a hearty and heartfelt congrats to Bud Black for taking duct tape and a reckless abandon on the base paths to within 2 games of the playoffs.
And, oh by the way, the team they ultimately lost out to? They won the World Series.