Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spends a 'surreal' opening day at home reminiscing

Dave Roberts started Thursday as he started most of his days the past two weeks.

The Dodgers manager woke up and made the news. He was drinking coffee and doing a devotional. He ran with his three dogs (a lab, rescue dog and Cavalier King Charles) and avoided breakfast.

“I do this periodic fasting,” Roberts said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “I’m going to eat here soon.”

Roberts, 47, spoke from his home in Cardiff just after noon. He had a gap until 8 p.m.

In another universe, he would have been at Dodger Stadium to prepare for opening day against the San Francisco Giants, while going through matchups and bullpens with a televised match in the background.

There would have been loud introductions, a giant American flag and a flyover with the teams along the baselines on a sublime sunny afternoon. The first throw would have been at 1.10 pm. Clayton Kershaw would have thrown it, starting his ninth opening day for his career. Another endeavor to end the championship drought, with arguably the club’s best roster in decades, would have been underway.

In reality, however, Roberts was one of the millions of Americans who wondered when the coronavirus outbreak will reverse and return to normal.

“It is very surreal,” said Roberts. “If it’s a year on the calendar and you know March 26 is the opening day and it’s not going to happen, it’s disappointing.”

The Dodgers have been dispersed – in Los Angeles, Arizona, and off-season homes elsewhere – since Major League Baseball suspended operations indefinitely on March 13. the Dodgers’ training staff, waiting to be told to meet again for a second spring workout.

When that happens – if that happens – remains unknown, as MLB and the players’ association continue discussions that ultimately depend on decision-making by federal and local governments.

“I don’t think anyone can say anything with certainty at this point – about anything,” Dodgers, president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

Friedman spoke to the media in a Zoom chat. Two weeks ago, Friedman didn’t know what Zoom was. Now his days are saturated with Zoom sessions, coordinating the different departments under his supervision. Even his son uses Zoom for school.

On the baseball front, Friedman had no other answers than to emphasize that all parties involved want to play as many games as possible in 2020. He said almost everything is being considered, including scheduled doubleheaders, shortening some games to seven innings for wear and tear, extending the season into winter and canceling the All-Star game scheduled for July 14 Dodger Stadium is planned.

Roberts said he believes this is an opportunity for MLB to experiment, perhaps with extended rosters and dealing with extra innings differently.

“I think everyone has an open mind now,” Friedman said.

The last time Roberts was not present on opening day was when he was a player in 2009. The Giants unexpectedly released him in early March and ate the remaining $ 6.5 million on his contract. He spent the opening day in Atlantis in the Bahamas with his family unsure about his future. He was soon offered an offer by NESN – the Boston Red Sox television house – to serve as a color analyst for road games. He took the job and never played again.

Eleven years later, Roberts would start his fifth year as manager of Dodgers on Thursday. He would have preferred to live in uniform, but took advantage of the time spent with his wife and two children. They played poker. They watched “9-1-1” and sat through Hallmark movies. Intermittent fasting has trimmed his body and produced more energy.

On Thursday, his wife, Tricia, would make nachos and homemade ice cream to commemorate the opening day. They showed MLB Network on television and watched opening days from the past. He thinks that the opening day in 2020, when it happens, when it happens, evokes strong emotions for a country that is recovering. The event indicates a sense of normality. He is looking forward to it.

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