Since 2011, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not posted a record below .500. But, under the leadership of Dave Roberts, the Dodgers have taken an even bigger leap.
Since taking over the team he has won three National League Pennants and a World Series Championship (2020). Roberts also won the National League manager of the Year award in 2016 while dealing with one of the most injury-plagued teams in Major League history, placing an unprecedented 28 players on the IL.
It is no secret that the superstar Dodgers are a revolving door of high-level talent. The team has been filled with a litany of All Stars, blue-chip prospects, and key free agent signings that have fueled the team’s dominance over the past decade.
But no matter how the roster changes, Roberts has always kept them in a position that leads to constant winning and sustained success.
He has converted starting pitchers to relievers, former All Stars to quality role players, and even castaways from other organizations to mainstays in Los Angeles.
Although Dave Roberts has already established himself as one of the best managers in the game, if not the greatest, there is still much more he can accomplish. More money to make too.
Having won one out of three trips to the World Series, Roberts knows that he can again claim the ultimate prize by leading the team to success in October.
The Dodgers started the year as World Series favorites, something that has been a recurring theme during Roberts’s tenure.
Roberts is in a unique spot. With Los Angeles being one of the biggest markets in the sports world, there is always constant pressure to be great and reach lofty expectations.
His regular season success is something to lean on, but ultimately it won’t keep him safe when the team is in “championship or bust” mode.
With former American League MVP MLBbro Mookie Betts, and former National League MVP Freddie Freeman, he has a lineup that is averaging over 5 runs per game which leads the Majors.
His pitching staff, despite the loss of Trevor Bauer, also leads the league with a 2.25 ERA.
Dave Roberts is indeed an elite manager. With another World Series title in 2022, which is very well within his grasp, he could join an even greater pantheon of managers who have gone on to win multiple championships.
On the heels of Jackie Robinson’s 75th anniversary of breaking the color barrier, the ultimate bro made history. In his 25th year as a big league manager, Astros head man Dusty Baker became the first Black manager to record his 2000th with a shutout win on Tuesday beating the Seattle Mariners 4-0.
Baker is only the 12th manager in MLB history to win 2000 games, joining Connie Mack, Tony La Russa, John McGraw, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Sparky Anderson, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Walter Alston, Leo Durocher and Bruce Bochy – 10 of those managers are enshrined at Cooperstown.
So we here at MLBbro believe that it’s time to pay tribute to the man, the myth and now…the legend. Actually, this is long overdue.
Baker is a California native and the oldest of five. He earned the nickname “Dusty” from his mother because he would always play in a dirt spot in their backyard. Baker excelled in baseball, basketball, football, and track at Del Campo High School and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1967.
Like many managers in the majors, Baker started as a player. His career spanned 19 years from 1968-86; his most notable stints were with the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his tenure with the Dodgers he was a two-time All-star and Golden Glove winner. He appeared in three World Series with a ring in 1981.
Baker’s old-school philosophy was simple yet impactful. He saw the value in mentoring and teaching his players. “He knew how to handle every type of player, from a rookie to the biggest superstars, such as Barry Bonds,” – according to former manager Cito Gaston, the first Black manager to win a World Series.
“A lot of managers manage, but they don’t teach. And Dusty is a teacher. You can tell. I know that about him,” said Gaston. “The way he treats his players, Dusty certainly respects them. He certainly has their back.”
Building trust is big for Baker, and he expects it from both sides. “I played for him — and there’s a lot of guys that have played for him — you want to win for Dusty. He puts so much effort into it, it’s hard not to root for a guy like that,” said Blue Jays outfielder George Springer, who played for Baker in 2020.
Every team Baker has managed has gone on to the postseason under his watch. That’s five different ball clubs – another first!
There are still many who believe that his “old school” philosophy is not versed well in modern day baseball; which is why some say Baker has still not won a World Series. However, for Baker, it’s more than just victories that makes him one of the best managers in MLB history.
Baker knows of the high pressure he faces as a Black coach in the majors. “If you’re an African American, if you don’t win it all, you’re considered a failure, you know what I mean?” Baker says.
Baker spoke out just this past January on Black representation in baseball. In the article, he discusses how under-represented Blacks are as managers; with he and Dave Roberts as the only two African-American MLB coaches in all of baseball. He believes that with a larger pool of black managers, black players will follow. Currently, Black baseball players only make up 7 percent of the league and that number needs to increase.
Baker is a leader, he is a baseball purist. He believes in setting his players up for success, he has a spiritual way of connecting with them. “As one of the most successful managers in baseball history, Dusty is a trailblazer, a winner, and an example of how Black managers can succeed in leading teams for decades,” said CC Sabathia.
When you can call somebody by just one name and you know who it is, that’s a sign of true greatness. Baker’s milestones are a testament to his perseverance – a true inspiration for all Black managers.
ATLANTA– After another ice cold showing from the Houston Astros offense on Saturday night, we all began to ponder out loud if Dusty’s chance at a World Series had once again slipped through his hands.
Dusty didn’t offer any excuses for the situation, but instead reiterated the faith he has in his ballclub. That faith was rewarded Sunday night, as the Astros defeated the Atlanta Braves 9-5 to force this series back to Houston for Game 6.
The Braves jumped out to a four-run, first inning lead thanks to a two-out grand slam by Adam Duvall. But unlike Saturday, the Astros were able to respond early and often.
“I was trying to figure out a way how we can chip away and get back in that game,” Baker told Ken Rosenthal on FOX TV after the victory. “But mostly, trying to figure out how to keep it at four.”
The Braves would add one additional run, but once Dusty went to his bullpen, Atlanta was held scoreless for 6 ⅔ innings.
Feeble Bats Wake Up
But there were still runs to score, and the Astros hadn’t been able to do much in that department since Game 2. Now when looking to explain such a drastic shift in offensive output, you need to look no further than the lineup.
With his team on the brink of elimination, Dusty dropped third baseman Alex Bregman to seventh and ran with his hottest six hitters at the top of the lineup. Armed with a new batting order, the Astros were able to do something we haven’t seen from them since they dismantled the Boston Red Sox last round; score runs in bunches.
The Astros scored two in the second and third, three in the fifth and two more insurance runs to end Atlanta’s postseason home win streak at eight games.
“Carlos swung the bat great, we got a big double outta Bregman and so I’m just glad we get to take it back to Houston,” said an excited Baker.
“That was our goal today, to get it back to Houston and it’s just one game at a time now.”
The way both managers handle the bullpen will be important in the final two games of this series. The key to an Astros win, however, lies in the bats. The Astros core players — from Altuve to Correa to Brantley — have to pound their way to the title, which won’t be an easy task.
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