Los Angeles Times

Dodgers' Roberts manages to stay the course

His irritation from the weekend had not faded. His apprehension about the week ahead had not been quashed. Dave Roberts planned to shield his players from both emotions. As manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he performs a daily ritual of alchemy, converting frustration into optimism, concern into calm. In his third year at the helm, the mask he chooses to wear has become his face.

"For me, it's about never showing panic," Roberts said as he sat at a True Food Kitchen outside downtown San Diego last week ahead of a series with the Padres, and days before the All-Star break.

This particular moment of the season challenged Roberts' constant search for equilibrium. He views the clubhouse like a globe spinning on its axis. He can influence the environment, but he prefers gentle gusts over heavy gales. The approach has guided him to two division titles, through the heartache of last fall and the hangover of this spring.

So he suppressed his disgust about losing a sloppy series to the Los Angeles Angels. Roberts thought ahead to the external conundrum of the next seven days. He remembered how this time felt as a player, close enough to touch the break, a respite from

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