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Bill Plaschke: Be like Tommy? Dave Roberts faces must-win season to ensure Dodgers legacy.

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

PHOENIX — He stands up at his spartan desk on a dull February morning and grins as if handed a gift.

"Dude this is so good, so much fun!" he says. "I can't wait to get to work every day!"

He is asked if this could be the most difficult of his nine seasons, and answers as if leading a cheer.

"This will be the toughest, because anything short of winning a championship will be an underachievement," he says. "But if you love what you do, you don't feel any pressure, and I have too much joy for baseball!"

Spend any time around Dave Roberts this spring and it hits you like a thunderous bellow from the big Dodger in the sky.

Doc is becoming Tommy.

 

The belief. The bluster. The blue. After accumulating the highest winning percentage of all managers with at least 1,000 games, Roberts is establishing himself as the charismatic face and inspirational voice of a franchise that hasn't had a singular powerful leader since Lasorda retired nearly three decades ago.

As drama has consistently raged behind closed Dodger Stadium clubhouse doors, Roberts has swaggered on to the franchise's front porch and projected an air of calm and faith that has become the trademark of the dynastic Dodgers culture.

Doc is becoming Tommy … if they don't fire him first.

Of all the reputations on the line in this World Series-or-bust season, none is more tenuous than that of Roberts, who needs to manage as if his job depends on it.

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