By bucking rookie manager history, Dave Roberts would be making history

Dave Roberts on April 24, 2004 at Dodger Stadium. Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dave Roberts on April 24, 2004 at Dodger Stadium. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Cary Osborne

There’s this long-standing narrative in baseball about a rookie manager having to earn his stripes or needing some sort of prior big league managerial experience before he can guide a team to a World Series or even bigger, a World Series title.


Blue Friday sale and autographs at Dodger Stadium

Store panorama 11-25-15

By Jon Weisman

Justin Turner and the Dodgers will kick off the holiday shopping season with a Blue Friday sale and autographs at the Top of the Park store, the day after Thanksgiving.

Fans will enjoy up to 30 percent off merchandise, with Dodger Pride rewards card members also receiving an additional discount. In addition, the Dodgers’ ticket sales staff will be on hand to sign fans up for 2016 mini plans, which include opportunities to get tickets for the just-announced promotional dates.

Here’s the upcoming autograph schedule at Top of the Park:


Chia whiz: An early look at 2016 Dodger promotions

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

If a Justin Turner Chia Pet and a Vin Scully T-shirt don’t sound like two of the greatest promotions ever, I might be speaking to the wrong crowd.

But for the right-thinking people among you, this April 30 giveaway is one of many highlights of the Dodgers’ 2016 preliminary promotion schedule.

New giveaways for next year also include a neck pillow, license plate frame, Father’s Day Dodger boxers, kids’ locker nameplate and socks.

New manager Dave Roberts, Don Newcombe, Dusty Baker and Clayton Kershaw will be among 2016’s 10 bobbleheads, along with one saluting 1981 World Series tri-Most Valuable Players Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager.

In addition, the 10-date Collectors Pin Series will spotlight on the Dodgers’ 10 retired numbers, and Magic Johnson takes over for Tommy Lasorda as this year’s giveaway gnome.

The Dodgers are also announcing two new mini-plan options for 2016 with tickets starting at $19 per game. A preset 21-game Collectors Plan offers Opening Day, all 10 bobblehead giveaways, all 10 retired number collectible pins and Jackie Robinson Day. A 30-game Flex Plan allows for any 2016 home game, including Opening Day. All mini plans are on sale now at

Below, you can see an informal list of planned 2016 promotions. Please note that:

  • Giveaways are limited to 40,000 units per game, unless otherwise noted.
  • Kids giveaways are for the first 15,000 ticketed kids 14 & under in attendance.
  • Only one giveaway item per person will be given to the bearer of the ticket upon entering the stadium.
  • Schedule is subject to change without notice.

Promotions part 1

Promotions part 2

Flashback: The Dave Roberts experiment

Dodger director of graphic design Ross Yoshida passed along this video of Dave Roberts when he was the prankee on a September 2003 episode of “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” on the ol’ WB Network. (Former Dodger catcher Paul Lo Duca is in on the bit.) The Dodgers’ new manager is patient — really patient — but firm and in the end, able to take a joke.

— Jon Weisman

Dodger from bygone era has solid shot at Hall of Fame

Former Brooklyn shortstop Bill Dahlen ranks fifth all time in WAR among shortstops. Photo courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

Former Brooklyn shortstop Bill Dahlen ranks fifth all time in WAR among shortstops. Photo courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.

By Cary Osborne

Beyond Mike Piazza and the other former Dodgers up for Hall of Fame induction, there’s a Dodger from a different era who is being considered on another ballot.

Bill Dahlen, who played for the Brooklyn Superbas from 1899 to 1903 and again in 1910 and 1911, is one of 10 names on the Pre-Integration Era ballot to be reviewed and voted upon December 7 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville.

The Pre-Integration Era ballot is part of a three-year cycle of voting that includes the Golden Era (which was voted on in 2014) and the Expansion Era (which was voted on in 2013 and put Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox in the Hall of Fame).

These eras consider players no longer eligible for induction by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and managers, umpires and executives, whose greatest contributions to the game were realized in one of three eras.


UCLA, USC (and maybe one big arm) highlight 2016 Dodger Stadium Classic

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 7.36.50 PMBy Cary Osborne

Four heavy-hitter college baseball programs make up the field at the 2016 Dodger Stadium Classic.

The games will be played on March 6 at Dodger Stadium and will feature a 3 p.m. clash between crosstown and Pac-12 rivals UCLA and USC, after the Big 12’s Oklahoma Sooners play the SEC’s Mississippi State Bulldogs at 11 a.m.

UCLA ended 2015 ranked No. 17 by Collegiate Baseball and USC finished 24th.

This could be a chance to see Oklahoma’s Alec Hansen — a 6-foot-7-inch, 235-pound hard-throwing right-hander who will go into 2016 rated as one of the top draft-eligible players in the nation. This past March, eventual Dodger draft picks Walker Buehler and Philip Pfeifer pitched for Vanderbilt at the Dodger Stadium event.

Tickets are priced at $40 for Dugout Club seats, $30 for Baseline Club seats, $20 for Field level VIP, $12 for Field level and $10 for pavilion seats. Tickets for USC and UCLA students and children under 14 are $5 and are available in advance only at the UCLA and USC box offices, or at Dodger Stadium on the day of the event.

An exclusive pre-sale for Dodger season-ticket holders will take place today from 1 to 3 p.m. During the pre-sale, Field VIP seats will be only $15. The general on-sale will begin immediately after the pre-sale closes.  


New manager Dave Roberts: Reactions from Twitter

By Matthew Mesa

Today, the Dodgers announced the hiring of Dave Roberts as manager. Here’s a collection of tweets from around the Twittersphere featuring reactions from current Dodger players, Gabe Kapler, Roberts’ alma mater and even the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.

Click a tweet to expand it.

Dave Roberts and the Dodgers’ lost 2002 season

roberts & dreifort

By Jon Weisman

Dave Roberts made his Los Angeles debut with the 2002 Dodgers, a mostly forgotten squad whom a couple of weeks ago I called the best third-place team in Dodger history.

Those Dodgers won 92 games but finished behind Arizona and San Francisco in the National League West. Under the current playoff format, they would have made the NL wild-card game against the Giants, who ended up in the World Series against the Angels.

Instead, the ’02 Dodgers missed the postseason entirely, so their record as a team has largely been ignored. But in addition to the arrival of Roberts, there were these individual memories:


Persistence paid off for Dave Roberts

2002 yb roberts

Dave Roberts in the 2002 Dodger Yearbook

By Mark Langill

The hiring of a new manager brings to mind a scene from Spring Training 2003 at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, the main characters resembling the cautionary tale of the tortoise and the hare.

Two players practiced bunting in a small batting cage under the tutelage of Maury Wills, a former National League Most Valuable Player who spent 8½ seasons in the minor leagues. One player was a rookie prospect seemingly on the fast track, coming off a solid Triple-A season. The other player was 30-year-old Dave Roberts, trying to keep his position coming off his first full season in the Majors.

Acquired by the Dodgers with little fanfare after the 2001 season in a trade with Cleveland, Roberts was considered a Triple-A journeyman with 75 career games in the Majors in parts of three seasons with the Indians. Roberts didn’t appear to have a chance to make the 2002 Opening Day roster as the sixth outfielder on the depth chart. But injuries and the surprise retirement of former Colorado Rockies slugger Dante Bichette, who couldn’t envision success as a pinch-hitter, provided a lifeline to Roberts’ career.

Roberts also played the role of good sport during camp when former manager Tommy Lasorda rounded up several low-profile players after their spring-training drills for additional work at Holman Stadium — which he dubbed “Lasorda University” — while the rookie and other projected starters left for the day. The exercise of extra batting practice at Holman Stadium was something Roberts could’ve easily declined, especially with his wife waiting for him outside the clubhouse.


Think Blue Review: 2015-16 edition No. 2

The latest in our weekly series keeping tabs on the Dodger offseason …

— Jon Weisman


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