|Bud Black is a managerial rarity:|
He was a pitcher in his playing days.
Anyway, the manager of the year voting is even more subjective than most. What the heck are voters judging the candidates on, anyway? Won-loss record, sure, but in that case Joe Maddon would have won the AL award, and he finished a distant third.
Expectations are always big to the voters, but ...whose expectations? Answer: those of the voters. The Padres were bad in 2009; they made no major offseason acquisitions and actually offloaded one of their better power hitters; they wound up contending for the NL West to the final weekend. And Bud Black won MOY.
He wasn't the only better-than-expected candidate. Cincinnati was expected to be an also ran in the NL Central, behind the Cardinals and Cubs at least; the Reds won the division. San Francisco was supposed to be better than the Padres but not better than the Dodgers or Rockies; the Giants won the division, which is all the voters know when the ballots are cast.
Two possibilities here:
- The expectations were right, and the Padres contended on the force of Black's managerial brilliance; or
- The writers underestimated the Padres at the start of the year.
Since none of us enjoys declaring that we were wrong, the writers picked the first possibility.