The Los Angeles Dodgers officially appointed Dave Roberts as the team's new manager Tuesday, according to the organization's Twitter account, and the new skipper was made available to the press to discuss his hiring.
“For me, this is obviously a huge day for me, speaking personally and on behalf of my family," Roberts said, per Jon Weisman of the team's official website. "I think for me to have an opportunity to put the Dodger uniform on again, it’s come full circle.”
"This is my dream job," he added, per Fox Sports: MLB.
The press conference was a star-studded affair, as former Dodgers Don Newcombe, Tommy Lasorda and Maury Wills—along with current Dodger Adrian Gonzalez—were in attendance. The biggest star in the building was NBA Hall of Famer and Dodgers part-owner, Magic Johnson, however.
Johnson and the rest of the organization and fanbase expects just one thing, of course—a World Series title.
“I think everyone in a Dodger uniform and in the fan base (wants) to win a world championship," Roberts said in his press conference. "That’s first and foremost, and I think we’re all excited about that and that’s the goal. There’s obviously a lot of work that goes toward that.”
Roberts, 43, was the San Diego Padres bench coach for the past two seasons. He first joined San Diego as a first base coach in 2011. He also spent 10 seasons as a major leaguer, including stints with the Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Padres and San Francisco Giants.
He was a lifetime .266 hitter, finishing his career with 213 RBI and 243 stolen bases. He most famously stole second base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees that sparked both a comeback in that game and in that series, as Boston became the first team in MLB postseason history to overcome a 3-0 deficit. The Red Sox went on to win their first championship since 1918.
Roberts thinks his experience as a player will aid him as a manager, per Weisman: "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. And I think grit is something I believe in—it’s an unrelenting passion and desire for a common goal.”
General manager Farhan Zaidi was most impressed by another aspect of Roberts' mentality, per Weisman:
What we said we were most looking for is someone open to new ideas and open to that exchange, and I think Dave personifies that. He’s got an intellectual curiosity. He’s been around a lot of front offices with different philosophies. And even in the course of our two interviews with him, and other conversations, we sensed that there was going to be a real collaborative process in how we put the team together and how he chose to run the team.
While Roberts lacks managerial experience, his role as the bench coach in San Diego and his history as a player should serve him well in Los Angeles, where managing egos on a talented roster is as important as making daily lineup decisions.
One player in particular came up during the press conference, as he was asked how he'll handle the talented but oft-controversial Yasiel Puig, per Jill Painter Lopez of Fox Sports West:
Roberts is inheriting a Dodgers team with the talent to win a World Series, so he'll have pretty big expectations on his shoulders from day one. Based on his comments Tuesday, however, he seems excited for the challenge.