Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Live-blog: Dave Roberts introductory press conference

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts is being introduced at Dodger Stadium shortly after 11 a.m. as the Dodgers’ manager. We’ll highlight some of the key quotes as they come here …

(Also, note that Roberts will be holding a live Q&A on Twitter this afternoon – check the hashtag #AskDave.)

Introducing Roberts is Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman: “We are highly confident that he is going to play a significant role in us shaping a culture of sustained success here. Magic Johnson then presents Roberts with his Dodger jersey, wearing No. 30.

Roberts begins with some introductory remarks:

  • “For me, this is obviously a huge day for me, speaking personally and on behalf of my family. … I think for me to have an opportunity to put the Dodger uniform on again, it’s come full circle.”
  • “People have asked me in passing about this opportunity. I look at it as a responsibility.”
  • “I see Don Newcombe. I see Maury Wills. I see Tommy Lasorda. I see Adrian Gonzalez. These are people, when they wear that Dodger uniform, they wear it the right way — they wear it with pride.”

Next, the Q&A begins:

  • On goals: “I think everyone in a Dodger uniform and in the fan base (wants) to win a world championship. 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.”
  • On his approach: “I don’t think I have a particular style. I think that (depends) on personnel. It’s about as a manager and coaching staff and teacher getting the best out of your players. … As far as things I believe in, it’s more of accountability, more of as a group counting on one another, trying to make each other better.”
  • 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.”
  • “I’m always trying to learn. I’m always trying to grow. I want to be the best that I can be. That’s kind of my goal for staff, for people in the organization, for players. I think if we can shoot for that, everything else takes care of itself.”
  • General manager Farhan Zaidi, on what the Dodgers were looking for: “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.”
  • Zaidi: “There’s a positivity and energy to Dave that really is the overriding thing in any conversation you have with him. You can feel it in any room he’s in.”

  • Roberts, on collaboration with the front office: “I’m definitely open to it. I welcome it. I think it goes to always getting better. You look back at me in the minor leagues, scouting, getting information from coaches, being a Major League players, you’re always getting information. I was one of those guys who was always into video, trying to get an edge. And so now the way the game has evolved, I think we’ve got the brightest people in baseball here in this organization … to have that at our disposal, it’s special and something that I welcome. … All great organizations in any industry depend on collaboration.”
  • Friedman, on the interview process: “What really stood out was his commitment, his desire to get the most out of each and every player. … It’s easy to say, it’s harder to do, (but) I think his ability to connect with people and create genuine relationships is what’s going to allow him to do that as an effective leader.”
  • Friedman on Gabe Kapler: “Obviously he had a great impact last year in his role, and I definitely assume he will continue to impact the Dodgers going forward.”
  • Roberts on Yasiel Puig: “He’s ultra-talented and a special player, someone who was feared and was tough to compete against. For me personally, I’m looking forward to getting to know him and meeting him. I’ve never said a word to him, so I think this is gonna be a great opportunity to embrace him, and I’m excited about it.”

Roberts IMG_2512

  • Roberts on team chemistry: “Winning is always a cure-all. … I think there’s a lot of different ways to create clubhouse chemistry. … I think it’s a responsibility for a manager to be a teacher and to provide energy every single day.”
  • “To me, the culture is going to be more positive-driven, energy-driven. It goes back to guys have got to care about one another. If you can care about the guy next to you, and really want the best for him, then I think everything else takes care of itself.”
  • On when he wanted to become a manager: “My wife and I talked numerous times about what would be (my) dream job. Without question, it’s been to be the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. When I was in my first year coaching in the Major Leagues, I realized I loved being on the field. I’ve done the front office and did some TV. But 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. And when you’re thinking pie in the sky, this is it. I went to school here. I’m a Southern California guy. I’m a former Dodger. I understand what it means to wear this uniform. I think speaking bluntly, this is my dream job.”
  • Vin Scully calls: “I got a call on Vinny’s birthday — his 88th birthday. So you can just imagine my surprise when I get this call from this unidentified number. I’ve had a lot of phone calls come in so I’ve kind of screened them and sifted through these calls. So I hear the voicemail and it’s this amazing storyteller — we all know this voice. … For him on his 88th birthday to go out and welcome me back to the Dodger family — obviously his legacy speaks for itself — for me, it was very humbling.”
  • On his coaches: “For me, I want teachers. I think that sometimes people at this level get caught up in feeling like we can role out the balls and let these guys play. I want teachers, and I want leaders and guys around me who are going to challenge me and make me grow. And I’m going to do the same thing. … I want the players to know the coaches around them, they are there to make them better, and they can trust them and they care about them. If a coach can check those three boxes, then I’m all in.”
  • Friedman: “By and large, Dave is driving that process. We have input on different guys that we’ve encountered. I think more than anything, we’re very much on the same page in terms of the type of people we want around and working in the trenches with our players every day. That’s the most important part. Then it’s about fitting guys to that, guys that Dave doesn’t know, giving him a chance to get to know them better — guys that we don’t know, giving us a chance to know them better.”

  • On style of play: “I don’t believe there’s one style that I play to, but I do believe in team offense. I do believe in playing for one another and situational hitting. I believe in competing every pitch and running the bases. When you run the bases and your teammates watch you competing every pitch, those are things that as you go through the summer and it’s a grind, that your teammates kind of see the effort when you go first to third and create a situational opportunity for the next guy, those things for me, those play.”
  • “We’re a part of the entertainment industry. When these fans that show up every single night to support our ballclub and our franchise, home and away — there’s Dodger fans everywhere — I think there’s a responsibility for us to put together a team that shows that we’ll go out there and play our tails off.”
  • On becoming the Dodgers’ first minority manager: “This opportunity presented itself, and I was so focused on talking through things with baseball ops and Josh (Byrnes) and Andrew and Farhan and baseball ops, that honestly I didn’t realize the magnitude of this. … I am who I am. But I think that to (not) step back and realize that it’s much, much bigger than me, this situation, would be completely irresponsible of me, and there were a lot of people who paved the way for me to have this opportunity.”
  • “I think that people should have expectations and goals. We talk about it every day. You should be goal-oriented, and the goal is to be great. But there’s 29 other teams talking about being great, and there’s a process that you’ve got to commit to.”
  • On being traded to the Red Sox in 2004, and then winning a World Series: “That was a different group. And for me, that was a tough day. My wife was pregnant with my daughter, and I was at home. We had gotten done beating up on the Padres, so that was great, and then I got a phone call that said I’m going to be going to the Red Sox. We were in first place here, and had a really good group of guys. I was comfortable, and I wanted to be here. But that’s the nature of this game — that’s business, that’s the way it goes. As sad as I was that day, it was one of the best things that happened to me and my career.”
  • “I did believe when I donned this Dodger uniform in 2002, my goal was to play for the Dodgers the rest of my career. It didn’t work out that way, and I got the opportunity to wear this uniform again. My plan is to never take it off again.”
  • “What I learned from that is that there are different ways to win baseball games and win championships. That was a very different group, and it’s hard to re-create the guys in that clubhouse and apply it to this group. That’s unfair to this group.”
  • On hiring coaches: “I haven’t been kind of positioning and talking to guys and saying, ‘If I get this position, you’re my guy. To be quite honest, I’m kind of vetting as many people as I (can) … as long and arduous as it was to come to this position, we just want to make sure we have the right guys. I’m definitely leaning on (the front office) for their input. It just goes to teachers, leaders and guys like that.”

  • More from Friedman on the managerial search: “We met five weeks ago and talked through the process in the very early stages, we talked that we were going to do a very exhaustive search. We met with a lot of very impressive guys. Going into it, I didn’t know Dave very well, other than to say ‘hello,’ and I actually told him this the other day: After the first-round interview, it was almost like he had our answer key to the answers we would have wanted to hear. So after that first round, it was incredibly impressive. So we went through the process with the other eight guys, and had a chance to continue to talk to Dave and get to know him — our ownership got the chance to get to know him — and to a man, everyone was blown away by who he is, what he represents. You can see the energy; you can see the enthusiasm and his ability to connect with people. And we felt that as we went through with a very high standard of what we were looking for, we’re thrilled with the result of Dave sitting (here) today.”
  • Zaidi, summing up: “There’s no way Dave walked out of that interview not thinking, ‘I totally nailed that.'”
  • Roberts: “He joked about me having the answer key. Ultimately, as I went through this process, I was going to be transparent and true to myself. For me, preparation and all that kind of stuff, it was easy because I was myself, and fortunately for me it was a fit, and I was kind of resolved to the fact that if it didn’t make sense and my vision and our collection of thoughts didn’t add up, that I was OK with that. But fortunately for me, I kind of saw things similarly.”


Joe Wieland returning to Dodgers


Think Blue Review: Roberts Rules of Order


  1. Dodgers exec Don Newcombe passed out following the Dave Roberts press conference and is being taken to a hospital.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) December 1, 2015


  2. I’m concerned who the coaches will be. Seems as if the “picks of litter” have gone on to other clubs. And almost all the internal coaching has left or were fired.

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