HOUSTON (Reuters) - Dave Roberts is in the midst of his first World Series as a manager and while the Los Angeles Dodgers skipper recognizes the magnitude of the stage he is on there are no plans to prepare his players any differently.
Roberts, the first Asian-born manager to reach the World Series, said his mindset on baseball’s biggest stage, where his team trail the Houston Astros 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, remains the same as it did when he came on as Dodgers manager ahead of the 2016 season.
“You understand the stakes now, a regular season as opposed to a postseason game or World Series, you manage a little differently,” said Roberts, a former MLB player who won World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
“But for the most part the process for the both of us, player and manager, mirrors how you kind of do it in the regular season and it’s with the idea of trying to win one game, and that day being the most important day.”
Roberts, the son of an African-American father and Japanese mother, played 10 seasons in Major League Baseball and in the latter stages of a career that ended in 2008 started looking ahead to the next stage.
That meant he paid much closer attention to what was going on with managers and coaches, and while he learned a lot he acknowledged that he has had to make many adjustments since much has changed in the game since then.
“When I came up it was more, not necessarily a dictatorship, but I think that the manager had complete autonomy, and I think that now there’s a lot, like I said, there’s more communication with the front office,” said Roberts.
“And I think that it’s forced and allowed for growth, for people on the field. And not just for the managers, but for the coaches.”
According to Roberts, one of the favorite contenders for National League manager of the year as his first-place Dodgers seek their first championship since 1988, there is more teaching involved now since players are coming up at younger ages.
On his dealings with his players and having a tough line to walk between being a disciplinarian and building relationships, Roberts talked about what he learned from current Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.
“He said that the three things players want to know is, can you they trust you, do you care about them and can you make them better. If you can strive for those three things, then you have a chance to get a player — to make them better,” said Roberts.
“And I think that for me, that’s the things that I talk to my coaches about. I try to live day to day. And I think that’s kind of what we have in our clubhouse.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty