While the Los Angeles Dodgers made their hire of Dave Roberts official on Nov. 23, it wasn’t until Tuesday that the club’s first minority manager in franchise history was formally introduced.
Roberts was joined at the press conference by Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi.
Special advisers to the chairman Tommy Lasorda and Don Newcombe were in attendance. So too was Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson, along with several others who have past and current ties to the organization.
Friedman briefly reviewed the club’s managerial search, during which Roberts continued to stand out. “Consistently throughout we found ourselves really impressed by Dave,” Friedman said.
“His positive energy, his ability to connect with people, and his leadership style were a few of his many attributes that really stood out. We are highly confident he is going to play a significant role for us shaping a culture of sustained success.”
Roberts reiterated the excitement and honor he feels in managing the club he once played for. “I look at it as a responsibility to continue forward and do things the right way,” he said.
Roberts returns to the Dodgers organization with a diverse background both in terms of his personal life and playing and professional career. After experiences in television and the San Diego Padres front office, Roberts is confident the dugout is where he belongs.
“When I had the opportunity to get back in the dugout in a coaching capacity, I knew right then and there at some point if the opportunity presented itself, I’d love to manage,” he said.
“And when you’re thinking pie in the sky, this is it.” Roberts called managing the Dodgers his dream job. A hard-nose, 28th-round pick who exceeded expectations over a 12-year career, Roberts didn’t put a specific label on his managerial style.
Instead, he championed a strong work ethic. “A word that I like, I like ‘grit.’ I wasn’t a great baseball player, and so I had to do a lot of things and grind and try to create opportunities for myself,” Roberts said.
“I think grit is something I believe it and it’s an unrelenting passion and desire for a common goal and you’re not going to waver from that. We’re all on the same page. We believe in the same things and we have the same goal.”
Roberts erased any concern over him being a first-year manager with ease. Granted, that factor was largely overstated.
Aside from matters relating to their roster, next for Roberts and the Dodgers is filling out a coaching staff. Friedman indicated the search is one Roberts is driving, though the front office has given input and is on the same page as their new manager.