The Los Angeles Dodgers formally introduced Dave Roberts as their new manager on Tuesday, offering him and the front office a chance to discuss his hiring and his mentality taking over as the skipper of the NL West powerhouse.
With Dodgers legends in attendance, including Maury Wills, Don Newcombe, and Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, Roberts expressed his gratitude to have the opportunity to manage a storied franchise like the Dodgers and carry on its legacy.
"There’s a lot of impact people and humans and athletes that made the Dodger franchise what it is today," the 43-year-old former major-league outfielder said at Tuesday’s press conference. "And for me, to be able to put this hat on and this uniform back on again, it’ll never be mistaken and forgotten how impactful these people and the legacy they created. … For me, personally, I look at it as a responsibility to continue forward and do things the right way."
After retiring from baseball in 2009, Roberts joined the Red Sox’s broadcast booth before joining the Padres’ front office and then its coaching staff. Upon returning the field, Roberts knew he wanted to manage one day, and his ultimate goal was to manage the Boys in Blue.
"My wife and I talked intimately numerous times about ‘What would be your ideal job … and your dream job?’ Without question, it’s been to be the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers," he said. "When I was in my first year coaching in the major leagues, I realized that I loved being on the field.
"… 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. … When you’re thinking ‘pie in the sky,’ this is it. … Speaking bluntly, this is my dream job."
Some other highlights from Roberts’ introductory press conference:
On his goals with the Dodgers:
"Speaking to the fan base, it’s to win a world championship. I think that that’s first and foremost and I think we’re all excited about that and that’s the goal, and there’s a lot of work obviously going towards that and it’s a process that we’re all going to commit to as an organization.
"As a manager and coaching staff and teacher, it’s to get the best out of your players. But I think that for me, as far as … things that I believe in, it’s more of accountability. It’s more of as a group, counting on one another, trying to make each other better."
On his style:
"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. I think grit is something … I believe in. It’s an unrelenting passion and desire for common goal and you’re not going to waver from that."
On clubhouse chemistry:
"Winning is always a cure-all. Winning is always a good thing: Everyone’s happy and there’s always good chemistry when you’re winning. I think there’s a lot of different ways to create clubhouse chemistry, and for me, coming in with a clean slate and [with] what this organization has done [winning] the division three years in a row, there’s a lot of good things. To be quite honest, I just want to come in and continue some of the great things … with the new staff that we’re putting together. I think it just plays to my [positivity] and energy."
On becoming the first minority manager in Dodgers history:
"Honestly, I didn’t realize the magnitude of this in the sense of being the first minority [manager] of the Dodgers. I really didn’t. … I really kind of look at myself as I’m the son of Waymon and Eiko Roberts and the husband of Tricia Roberts and I’ve got two beautiful kids. I am who I am. I’m transparent. But I think to step back and realize that it’s much, much bigger than me – this situation – would be completely irresponsible of me. I think that there’s a lot of people that paved the way to ultimately have me have this opportunity."
On legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully calling to congratulate him:
"I got a call on Vinny’s 88th birthday, and so you can just imagine my surprise where I get this call from this unidentified number. … So I hear the voicemail and it’s this amazing storyteller – we all know this voice. … Obviously I knew that was Vin Scully. I realized it was his birthday, so it just kind of speaks to … the Dodger legacy, and this brand, and this institution. … For him, on his 88th birthday, to go out there and seek Dave Roberts and welcome me back to the Dodger family … for me it was very humbling."