Not only did Mookie Betts and David Price fire up their teammates in short order, they also had a similar effect on their boss.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained Tuesday on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio why the team’s new right fielder and starting pitcher excited him during their earliest days with the team. After joining Los Angeles from the Boston Red Sox last month in a blockbuster trade, Price and Betts quickly integrated themselves with their new team and assumed leadership roles in the clubhouse, Roberts described.
“I knew David was a great teammate, and everybody talked about that, but for him to jump in with both feet as a Dodger from Day 1 was very exciting,” Roberts said. “Because guys that are veterans and are superstars and are former Cy Young winners, they tread lightly and they don’t really jump in with both feet coming to a new place and a new environment. But David did just that.
“And I think for Mookie, who’s very private, very great worker, and … knowing he’s a great teammate, plays the game the right way, his acumen off the charts, the way he just took a lot of our young guys under his wing and hosted a dinner at his place, got up in front of our guys and challenged us all in a good way, I thought that was really good. Just to see guys on a day-to-day work and see how guys gravitate toward them was really exciting for me.”
The leadership from David Price and Mookie Betts was already having an effect.
Roberts: "The way guys gravitate towards them was really exciting to me."@Dodgers | #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/rjvSxc8OhQ
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) March 31, 2020
Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock had discussed the “positive” impact Betts’ speech had on the team, and the scene still resonates with Roberts nearly a month later.
Having fallen agonizingly short of winning the 2017 and 2018 World Series, the Dodgers went for broke in trading for Price and Betts.
No one knows exactly how they’ll fare, given Major League Baseball’s suspended spring training and delayed start to the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the signs in Los Angeles certainly are promising.