Jay Paris: Black not the reason the Padres are blue

The colors of the baseball season are abounding.

While some regions embrace the changing of the leaves, we get the switching of the hues by eyeing the local nine.

Just look to the Padres for your clue.

May Gray is here and a peek outside says so.

But it says here the month known for gloom won’t include San Diego manager Bud Black getting his pink slip.

Although 50 shades of gray might explain Black’s hair and you’ll see, too, the next time he doffs his cap.

What’s shaking to make the dark roots scram?

The Padres, guess what, still play like the Padres on occasion — Black’s locks prove it.

You know that head-scratchin’ bunch we’ve come to know and love — or curse. It can be maddeningly inconsistent on offense and — something new this year — the pitching is pedestrian.

But this season wasn’t going to be a walk in the Petco Park no matter how much magic general manager A.J. Preller performed. Even with the Encinitas resident pulling rabbits from out of a hat during a hectic offseason, no whiz can make his squad go bagel — as in 162-0.

So the Padres are right around .500 after 40 games. Not long ago, that mark would have Rancho Santa Fe’s Black worthy of manager of the year consideration.

Instead, some fans are balking that Black’s ninth season isn’t one easy stroll to the playoffs.

You do remember where the Padres hang, right? If any baseball boosters are cognizant about the pitfalls of locations — how much did you pay for that cramped condo? — it should be the Padres’ faithful.

The Padres reside in the National League West and that ain’t the fixer-upper neighborhood.

The Dodgers won the division last year and celebrated by adding $200 zillion to their payroll — we’re kidding — maybe.

The Giants won three World Series in five years. Manager Bruce Bochy can only make a peace sign with available fingers minus jewelry.

The Diamondbacks are scrappy.

The Rockies, we give you, are something that rhymes with scrappy.

It’s understandable Padres fans are frustrated as their patience ran out about two owners ago.

But Black is the glue that has held this floundering squad’s head above water when the floods arrived. Now that sunshine and dry land surface, many want to send him packing.

“That would be crazy,’’ Cubs skipper Joe Maddon said. “Pepe is the best!”


“We were coaching with the Angels and Pepe was telling me about once being the winning pitcher in the Caribbean League World Series,’’ Maddon added. “I said, ‘Man, the headline that day must have read: ‘Bud Negro wins the title.’’’

Black, who was on the 2002 Angels staff with Maddon that won the World Series, shook his head.

“The translation of my name down there became ‘“Pepe Negro,’’’ Black said, keen that we’d been speaking to Maddon.

Maddon, as usual, howled.

“So we started calling him ‘Pepe’ and that is how the legend was born,’’ Maddon said.

Maddon thinks the world of Black and that opinion carries the day around the major leagues. Chase Black away if you must, but look no further than Bochy of what happens when a good baseball man slips away.

“Get rid of Pepe?’’ an incredulous Maddon said. “That wouldn’t be very smart.’’

In more colorful language, Maddon thought of Pepe being punked and basically said: “Don’t go there, amigo.”

We agree.

The Padres should retain their manager and that’s as plain as Black and white.

Contact Jay Paris at jparis8@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports.


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