The Dodgers haven’t dropped a game in the 2017 postseason and are just two wins away from their first World Series appearance of the 21st century. Manager Dave Roberts has led the Dodgers to two very successful seasons to start his managing career, and this is his second attempt at getting his club past the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, last year falling in six games; but Dodger fans are no longer accepting good years.
The Dodgers have appeared in the playoffs an MLB record 10 times since their last World Series appearance, so making the NLCS means nothing to Los Angeles anymore, especially with the expectations this team has. Eight other managers since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda have tried and failed to even make the World Series and If Roberts doesn’t want to end up just another link in the chain, he needs to make sure this postseason run is something special.
Los Angeles sports teams have always had impatient fan-bases. As the greatest sports town in America, we expect the greatest sports teams to be here too. That’s why we feel no shame in saying 2016 National League Manager of the Year Dave Roberts should feel the pressure of not only getting to the World Series but bringing home a trophy this postseason. When it's all over, we won’t care or remember who had the most regular season wins this year, but we will remember if we won a championship or not. And if the Dodgers don’t get it done, we’ll remember the team's late-season struggles, that Roberts is working with the highest payroll in baseball, the best pitching staff in baseball, and two straight NL Rookie of the Year winners (not yet official, but we know).
With great talent comes great expectations, and the Dodgers’ long World Series drought has turned expectations into demands. If by some unfortunate circumstance the Dodgers fail to win these last two games, Dave Roberts' seat may just burst into flames from the heat. Keep in mind the Dodgers' last two managers also made the NLCS, but they only lasted three and five years each because of their inability to win the big one.
The manager we deserve
Contrastingly, we’ll never forget Dave Roberts if he is the one to break our title drought. Just look at Tommy Lasorda; the living icon is the last manager to bring home a championship for the Dodgers and is a hero to this day, almost 30 years later. Lasorda believes in Roberts and the Dodgers this year. The old Dodger skipper and team legend waited for Roberts after Sunday night’s victory to praise the manager’s team.
Everybody else tries to do this. But you’re doing it, Lasorda told Roberts. We’ve still got two more.
The words of encouragement couldn’t come from a more respected person in the organization. No one besides Vin Scully is more appreciated and loved in the Dodger community than Lasorda and if he’s with Dave Roberts, that will ease some troubled minds about the Dodger manager.
But not Tommy Lasorda, Vin Scully, or even the ghost of Jackie Robinson himself can help Dave Roberts if the Dodgers don’t finish off the Cubs. I’m not saying he’ll be fired if they lose, at least not this year. But once you lose the fans in Los Angeles, you’re as good as gone.
That said, Lasorda's words were nice, but they are neither a pedestal to stand on or a life-preserver at the end of the year for Dave Roberts. 1988 is a distant memory and this team needs to win now. If you want this town’s praise, get out there and win. Otherwise, we have a long chain and a link with your name on it.