If you want to really know where Bud Black learned a lot about the game of baseball that he’ll be using this season as the new manager of the Colorado Rockies, you have to head west toward Southern California.
It was 2002 and the Anaheim Angels had just captured the World Series. Led by players like Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon and Ramon Ortiz, the Angels won their first-ever World Series in seven games over the San Francisco Giants.
The players may be memorable, but take a look at the coaching staff the Angels had assembled that season. Anaheim had Mike Scioscia (manager), Joe Maddon (bench coach), Ron Roenicke (third base coach) and some guy named Bud Black as the pitching coach. It was a stellar group of talent and a group that still influences Black to this day.
"More from Rox PileA Colorado Rockies ThanksgivingColorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the seasonColorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers seriesColorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?“The entirety of my time there (with the Angels), I learned more about baseball than probably any other time in my career,” Black recently told Rox Pile. “With Mike, Joe, Roenicke, Alfredo Griffin (first base coach), Mickey Hatcher (hitting coach), what a growth period for me. No doubt about it. Especially on the pitching side. Growing up and being a pitcher professionally, I had a good feel. But the whole baseball spectrum? I learned a ton from those guys.“If I didn’t have that time there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing now. That’s for sure. We had great dialogue and great conversations. Great debates as well in offices like this or in airplanes, on the bus or out to dinner with a glass of wine. Talking late nights. Great baseball stuff.”"
Scioscia is still the manager for the Angels while Maddon is still one of the most loved men in Chicago after helping the Cubs finally win a world title. Black has assumed the reins in Denver. It’s a lot of managerial firepower just with those three men. With each of them guiding a team that holds its spring practices in the Phoenix area, there’s time to get together and still swap stories at times.
"“We still get together. Everybody’s schedules are different but we’re going to get together in the spring and talk shop,” Black said."
Black said a recent guest that has joined them in the near past has made the evening even more special.
"“About six or seven years ago, Mike said, ‘Hey Buddy, we’re getting together with Sandy Koufax. Do you want to come to dinner?” I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Yeah. What time?’ For the last six years, Joe and Mike and Sandy and others, we’d meet and go to a local Italian place,” Black said. “That was always a special night for me to get together with that group and Sandy.”"