An interesting phenomenon surrounds Dave Roberts, the winningest manager in baseball. Namely, the armchair managers are much louder. When something goes wrong in baseball, it’s easy to blame the manager. The manager should’ve seen it coming — “it” being the descriptor for everything from a lack of command in a bullpen pitcher, to the other team’s ability to hit a home run, to a hitter going through a pretty bad slump after being injured.
Remember how soundly Kevin Cash got ridiculed last year for taking out Blake Snell in Game 6 of the World Series? That was a big decision, and one Cash admitted to thinking a lot about after the season ended last year. But he also stood by it because he was part of a leadership team that helped make decisions that got the Rays to the World Series in the first place. The Rays were seen as the upstart because no one was expecting them to get to where they did. But a good manager can help make that happen.
I think what’s easier to forget is that a manager (at least a good one) isn’t just thinking about tonight, or even this weekend. A good manager is thinking 10 games from now, 160 games from now. And I’m convinced that a great manager can ignore all the noise while doing that.
Some folks will argue that the Dodgers are good enough that literally any old Joe off the street could guide them to the playoff season time and time again. And, maybe that’s true. Justin Turner, interviewed after Tuesday night’s clinch win, said, “So I can’t say enough about him and what he’s done, and we’re going to do everything we can to go out and win him another championship.”
I think that’s pretty telling. But I’ll also let the numbers speak for themselves: With Dave Roberts at the helm, the Dodgers have a win percentage of .618, one of the best marks in MLB history.
- For more on Dave Roberts, from Bill Shaikin at the LA Times: Dave Roberts, best manager ever? Numbers back up the notion
- And for the first time in a very long time, the Dodgers have a 5-man starting rotation, writes Mike DiGiovanna at the LA Times
- Neil Payne at 538 writes in detail about the many challenges the Dodgers have faced this year: The Dodgers Are So Deep That They Don’t Need All Their Stars
- Dalton Johnson at NBC Sports has more on Roberto Clemente’s history as a player, including his original signing by the Dodgers