The game of baseball can be a weird one. It has it’s ups and downs just like anything else in this world but it’s one of the sports where the best team doesn’t always win the championship each season. Unlike in the NFL or NBA, baseball has a way of invoking chaos come playoff time. It’s both the beauty and the curse of the game, which can be frustrating for the teams involved. For the Dodgers, they know this fact all too well. The team has disappointed come playoff time almost each season despite having a heavy payroll and one of the best rosters in the game.
Many are quick to blame it on manager Dave Roberts and some things are most definitely his fault. But it’s a collective unit that should be given the blame, not just the manager. Baseball writer Andy McCullough of The Athletic feels that the Dodgers’ problems in the playoffs haven’t really all been due to Roberts.
There are reasonable criticisms to be made of Dave Roberts’ managerial stylings. I’ve probably drilled the guy harder in print than any other reporter. There are certainly tactical issues that could be cleaned up, especially in terms of bullpen deployment, in October. But to saddle that all at the feet of the manager, rather than include the front office that crafts the in-game strategy alongside the coaching staff, misses the point. These are organizational failures, rather than individual disasters.
Dodger fans demand excellence, it’s just the nature of being a fan of a large market team. So when anything goes wrong in the postseason, someone needs to be blamed. Yes Roberts has made some boneheaded decisions over the course of his Dodger tenure but for the most part, he has put this team into position to win baseball games.
They have made the playoffs every year he has been manager and the team has reached the World Series three times. It’s just an unlucky fact that LA faced off against two teams that were cheating in the Fall Classic otherwise the Roberts-lead Dodgers may have more than the one World Series title right now.
“Could he do some things better? Sure. But the Dodgers could also do a lot worse.”
My question to the people who want to get rid of Roberts is who would be better for the job right now? Even if the team did fire Roberts, whoever replaced him would be given direction and a guide to manage the team. That’s just how baseball is played nowadays with all the analytic measures that are available. Decisions are no longer solely on the manager but a combination of the manager and front office.
Putting all the organization letdowns on the manager isn’t fair and Roberts has done a good job during his time with LA. The failures in the playoffs do hurt but baseball playoffs are essentially a crapshoot if you really break it down. The hottest team normally goes on to win the World Series, leaving the dominant teams throughout the year in the dust. We’ve seen it time after time in baseball, unlike any other sport as mentioned above.
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