It’s no secret that San Diego Padres manager Bud Black is a huge factor in the team’s surprising success this season. In order to show their appreciation for Black, the Padres rewarded their manager of four-plus season with a three-year contract extension through 2013, with club options for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Since Black took over the San Diego job back in 2006, he has had to deal with his hall-of-fame closer leaving town, watch his ace get traded away and endure changes in both the ownership and general manger positions. But through it all, Black has managed to keep the Padres relevant in one of the most competitive divisions in the majors.

Sand Diego ended with a rough 2009 by finishing in fourth in the NL West with a 75-87 record. But 2010 already looks to be more promising. At this point in the season last year, the Padres were a dismal 37-55 and 21 games behind the first place LA Dodgers. But for 2010, San Diego has had a hold on first place in the NL West since April 20, where they have only been out of the lead a total of three days since then.

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