The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the World Series. Sportainment caught up with the Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts about their win over the Cubs and how they are preparing for the next series.
Q. Congratulations. What makes this team so special and now a World Series team?
DAVE ROBERTS: There are just so many things that I could probably touch on. The first thing that comes to mind is Clayton and how long he’s been a Dodger and how much he’s wanted this opportunity to win a championship. I think of the city of Los Angeles, and how much they’ve been longing for another championship to come back to Los Angeles. I think about each individual player and coach and staff and their families and what we had to sacrifice to get to where we’re at. And to do what we did, it takes a lot of talent, a lot of give, a lot of open-mindedness. And there was a complete buy-in. So now, almost a culmination, but getting an opportunity to play for a championship, I’m just so proud of our guys.
Q. I don’t need to tell you that Kike’s had a lot going on off the field in the last couple years. What was the emotion of seeing him have such a huge night on such a huge stage?
DAVE ROBERTS: All year long it’s been a collection of guys, and certain guys stepping up. Every single night it’s somebody else. Tonight was his night to shine, and Clayton started the night and throwing a gem. For him to start and pitch the way he did, and for Kike to have a huge night, three homers tonight, just providing so much energy for us, and we fed off that tonight. It’s a very good ballclub over there. Those guys are the world champs. They fought to the end. But fortunately we came up on the good side of things this year. But hat’s off to Joe and his staff. Class organization, great fan base. And for us to be able to celebrate here at — celebrate here at Wrigley Field is obviously something we don’t take lightly. Try to do it in a classy way and respectful, but still enjoy the moment.
Q. Corey Seager, a huge part of your club all year. Could you say where he’s watching tonight and the possibility of him joining your roster for the next round?
DAVE ROBERTS: I know Corey was at home and watching every single pitch and exchanging text messages with myself and the players and rooting us on. He’s doing everything he can to get healthy. We expect him back for Game 1. So obviously when you have a guy like Charlie Culberson that can fill in like that, made some spectacular defensive plays, some big hits, it was great to see from Charlie, but obviously we’re hoping to get Corey back for the World Series.
Q. You guys are the first team to earn home-field advantage by virtue of regular season record with the new format. So what’s it mean to have earned that privilege with the best record in baseball?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that up to this point we’ve done everything we can, and throughout the regular season, understanding that every game, every pitch matters. We put ourselves in this position. To be able to go back home and not to travel as much and put ourselves in that spot is obviously a benefit. And those guys in the clubhouse, they did that. It’s just a credit to the first game of the season to the last pitch. We focused on every pitch for 162 games plus the postseason, and there is a lot to be said for that.
Q. To follow up on Clayton and how badly he wanted this and for so long. You see him in a way that we don’t every day as he prepares. What was he like today that was unique about what he knew was going to be a defining start for him in the organization?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think you can never question his preparedness. But today was a day that obviously we wanted to finish out and go home and get a couple days off. But it was one of those things coming up after a loss and having him take the baseball, you knew that he wasn’t going to be denied. So for Chris Taylor from the beginning to set the tone, and for Clayton to throw up a zero and get on the board early, but Clayton — and that was one of the things that I told him, getting an opportunity to play for a championship, he’s done everything he can individually on the baseball field. But the one thing that he’s missing is a championship. So he’s very emotional tonight. He’s earned that. So it’s only fitting that he started tonight’s game.