Roberts cherishes 'special day' as Padres manager

Roberts cherishes 'special day' as Padres manager

SAN DIEGO -- To commemorate his official status as manager-for-the-day on Thursday, Padres bench coach Dave Roberts got to use some fancy table settings for breakfast.

At home, the Roberts have a red plate that's marked with "Your Special Day," and, depending on the situation, Dave, his wife Tricia, daughter Emmerson and son Cole get to use the dish.

Emmerson and Cole get the most use of the dish, but they made sure dad had it waiting for him on the day he filled in for manager Bud Black, who is away attending his daughter Jessie's graduation from the University of Maryland.

"Before they headed off to school, there's a red place we have at our house, whenever there's a special moment, that child -- I guess I'm the child for the day -- gets to use the special plate. So they wished me luck," Roberts said before the Padres faced the Cubs.

Roberts said he's got to use the dish on previous occasions when he was named bench coach on Nov. 18 and when he was named to Black's staff in October of 2010.

To be sure, Roberts hasn't had a whole lot of time to enjoy the moment -- he has been too busy getting prepared.

"It's exciting. But I think that the preparation for this one game for me and for us has kind of overtaken that," Roberts said. "So for me, it's more about helping us get a win. I think I can look back hopefully if we get a win tonight then I can look back with fond memories to my first game as a manager."

That means getting ready to face old friend and former Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, who is in his first season as manager of the Cubs.

"You know each other's tendencies, what each other likes to do. It's kind of that cat and mouse. It's just talking to coaches, seeing what to expect. But we know what he likes to do," Roberts said.

"It's kind of ironic. He's one of my better friends. It's one of those things where we're friends now, but once the game starts, we're looking to beat up on the Cubs. But it will be nice to go out there and say hello to him."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.