How Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts practices self care


ON SELF CARE ­— Dave Roberts, honorary committee chair of LTSC’s Changing Tides (CT) program, speaks with CT leadership at the Dodgers 2024 Spring Training in Arizona. photo by Andrew Frastaci, Little Tokyo Service Center

All eyes are on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts this year, possibly more so than ever before with the signings of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and elite pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Dave is an honorary committee chair of Changing Tides, a LTSC program dedicated to supporting mental health in the AAPI community, and spring training has been regularly used as an opportunity to update him on their accomplishments and future plans. In March at the Dodgers Camelback Ranch spring training facility, the Changing Tides Crew had a discussion with him about how he manages this added pressure.

Opening up about his background, Dave spoke about how having a Japanese mother meant being raised the way she was raised: “I was always taught to say, ‘Hey, I’m fine everything’s good, everything’s fine! No problem!” Born in Okinawa and raised in Southern California, he came to understand that “in Asian culture, they don’t really want to talk about emotions.” Despite this upbringing and the high-stress lifestyle of professional baseball, he is more committed than ever to being an advocate for mental health: “In my position, where before my job was just to be a manager or a player, now I just feel more like I’ve gotta use my voice, I have to.”

Handling stress involves self care, which for Dave starts with an absence from social media: he views using social media as “a tough ebb and flow, peaks and valleys way to live.” As a man of strong faith he finds it important to listen to worship music, as well as taking time for activities outside of baseball such as golf and wine-tasting. While acknowledging the draining effect it can have, he spoke to the therapeutic benefits of always looking to help others: “I feel that when I give to other people or have a good conversation with a player or a coach, and make them feel more confident or better, that makes me feel good. It’s kind of counterintuitive, but it helps.”

Dave let the Changing Tides Crew know that what they do is “so dear to [him],” especially with their new high school ambassador program: “It’s amazing, it’s impactful… young kids need to talk about [mental health].” His dedication to opening up conversations with his family and players about their emotions, as well as openly discussing his own journey, stands hand in hand with Changing Tides’ mission of greater mental health discussion in the AAPI community. After a gift exchange of mochi (which he promised to share with the Japanese players and staff), Japangeles merch, and UPRISERS apparel, he left the Changing Tides group with a few words: “I’ll try to do you guys proud, alright? You guys are doing me proud!”

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