You could always tell where he was, what he had done, and what to expect.
Just look for the guy with the dirt on the front of his uniform. That’s who he was, how he played, and how we should forever remember him.
Things haven’t always come easy for Dave Roberts, the incoming manager of the Dodgers.
The small option quarterback at Rancho Buena Vista, a proud Longhorn, from the North County. A prouder UCLA Bruin. And a dedicated major leaguer, doing anything to help produce and win games, whether he wore the Chief Wahoo patch on his shoulder, wore the Giants Orange & Black, Dodger Blue, or Padres brown.
A decade long career of stability and consistency in the show; a lifetime (.266) hitter; a solid glove; daring on the base paths.
And all the traits he showed as a player, became his calling card as a trusted coach on Bud Black’s staff. A confidante to the manager; a liaison guy to the players; an intellectual when it came to strategy.
It’s a shame he had to go away to become a manager, but this new breed of baseball leadership, the AJ Preller-Andrew Friedman’s of the world, all want their own guys running their clubs. So “Doc” doesn’t become the Padres bench boss, but instead moves to Chavez Ravine.
And like the grinder he was as a ballplayer, so to was the fight he put up against cancer, never once complaining, never once giving in, but ready for the battle, just like stepping into the box against Roger Clemens. He believed in the Almighty to see him thru. He got support from other cancer survivors like Larry Lucchino. He embraced the greatness of the friendship of Tony Gwynn.
He will manage players, he will handle egos, he will accept the advice of the people upstairs, and he will manage games inning-by-inning, just like he managed his career and personal life, with dedication and excellence.
The front of the uniform will be clean from this day forward. He earned the Blue script with the red number beneath it.
Dave Roberts, always diving head first for a fly ball, for a stolen base, or an extra hit, now dives head first in as the Dodgers new manager.
He looks great, think he’ll do great.