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Geren on Roberts: 'He'll make me better'

LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts was hired as Dodgers manager. Bob Geren, who also interviewed, wasn't.

If it seems potentially awkward that Geren's consolation price was getting hired as Roberts' bench coach, Geren said that was put to rest when he recently met Roberts.

"Now I understand why they picked him," Geren said. "His enthusiasm is infectious. His personality is off the charts. He's a great pick, just a great choice."

Geren, 54, managed the Oakland A's for five years, when current Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi was in the A's front office. His last four years were spent as bench coach for Mets manager Terry Collins, so at first glance the move is lateral, from East Coast to West Coast.

"That's the way it probably looks on the outside," said Geren, a native Californian. "This is the first time I'll be close to home. My mom is 88. My dad passed away a couple of years ago. If I have a regret in life, it's that I didn't spend more time at home. Every relative we have is within an hour drive of Dodger Stadium. So this is an opportunity to work close to home, while being with an outstanding organization. I couldn't turn it down."

Geren said he's also energized by the chance to work with a rookie manager after serving Collins, who reached the World Series this year in his 11th season as a Major League manager (eliminating the Dodgers en route).

"I like the idea of a young manager leaning on me, having an opportunity to help him and also learning from Doc," said Geren. "We have a group of general managers, all extremely bright, and you know they will bring quality players in year after year. It's the whole package, and New York was a lot of the same.

"This will be the first time I've worked with a younger and less experienced manager, and that's appealing. I was a catching instructor, and I consider myself a teacher. I feel I can make him better, and he'll make me better by challenging me."

Having just interviewed for the Dodgers' top job, Geren said he still wants to manage in the "right scenario, but it's not something I think about every day." In fact, he said, he's learned to enjoy the job of bench coach, which essentially is to be the manager's right-hand man for in-game strategy, among countless other tasks.

Geren said he spent a day with Roberts at the club's Arizona complex, texts him daily and they speak every other day. He said he's thrilled to get the consolation prize.

"I enjoy the bench coach job tremendously," he said. "I'm involved in every decision. I give my opinion and if it isn't taken, it doesn't bother me one bit, believe it or not. You get the adrenaline of being in a tight game, it has its advantages. In some ways, this can be even more fun."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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