LOS ANGELES -- It’s Dave Roberts’ nature to find the silver lining in any cloud, even the one that hangs over the 2020 MLB season.
In a Q&A via the club’s YouTube channel on Tuesday, with team broadcasters Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser moderating, the Dodgers manager was asked the last time he was home at this time of the year and his answer put things in perspective.
“It was 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer,” said Roberts, who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that develops within the body’s immune system.
“I had just started chemotherapy. My hair is thinned out now, but I have hair. Back then, I didn’t have hair. My father shaved his head, my brother-in-law shaved his head to support me. That was the last time I was home at the start of a season.
“I remember my wife and I were in a Chili’s restaurant after I was diagnosed. ‘We’ve got to tell [son] Cole, who was then 10, and my daughter was 6 at the time, that dad had cancer.’ Our faith was a big part of it, but we got through it and are better for it.”
With that frame of reference, Roberts remains upbeat even during the current crisis that postponed the start of the season. He said he’s been Facetiming, texting and calling players and staff to keep them updated and optimistic.
“Even -- at my daughter’s urging -- a lot of TikTok going on,” he said.
As for the silver lining, Roberts said the unexpected time at home has been spent with family -- cooking, walking, learning and connecting.
“I see that happening in our country and world, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “The more serious we take this, the sooner we can get back to the game we love.”
Roberts conceded that while absorbed with his duties in Spring Training, which was rolling along quite smoothly, the oncoming health crisis hit fast and hard.
“You know, when you’re in Spring Training, you’re sort of in a bubble and you don’t really ... know what’s going on outside,” he said. “You’re just so hyper-focused on getting the team ready for the Major League season. But ownership was very good about getting us the information and you realize, this is really serious.”
Roberts was reminded that Opening Day originally was scheduled for Thursday.
“I’m going to miss the buildup, the excitement,” he said. “We’ve waited months for this day. I’m going to miss the feeling. But there will be an Opening Day. And you know how you always hear, 'It’s a long season; it’s a marathon; it’s early?' You won’t hear that from our guys. It’s going to be a sprint.”