The Japanese American National Museum will present “Beyond the Dugout: A Discussion with Japanese American Staff at the Los Angeles Dodgers” on Saturday, July 29, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum, 100 N. Central Ave. (at First Street) in Little Tokyo.

Note: Tickets to this program are sold out. Click the link below to sign up for the waitlist and you will be notified if space becomes available.

This dynamic conversation will feature World Series champion Dave Roberts (team manager), Stephen Nelson (play-by-play broadcaster), Scott Akasaki (senior director of team travel), Emilee Fragapane (director of integrative baseball performance), and Will Ireton (manager of performance operations) — all current Los Angeles Dodgers staff members who hold prominent positions for the historic and pioneering professional baseball franchise. Join them as they explore what it means to be a Japanese American in a non-traditional career field and how their background influences and shapes their work.

Dave Roberts, the 2016 NL Manager of the Year and 2020 World Series champion, enters his eighth season at the helm of the Dodgers and begins the season with the highest winning percentage by a manager in Major League Baseball history (minimum 850 games managed) at .632 (653-381). He became the first National League manager in history to lead his team to the playoffs in his first seven seasons and is the first to accomplish the feat since Joe Torre led the Yankees to the playoffs in his first 12 seasons at the helm.

In 2020, he joined Cito Gaston (Toronto, 1992, 1993) as the only Black managers to win a World Series and won the National League West division five straight seasons from 2016-2020 and again in 2022 and captured the NL pennant three times (2017, 2018 and 2020).

Roberts guided the Dodgers to a then franchise-record 106 wins in 2019 and 2021 and followed that up by winning a franchise record 111 games last year. He has won more than 100 games four times, becoming one of nine managers all-time with four 100+ win seasons and is tied for fourth all-time with Frank Chance, Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa, becoming the second-quickest manager to record four 100+ win seasons (Frank Chance did so in five seasons).

Roberts made his Dodger managerial debut on April 4, 2016 in San Diego with a 15-0 victory over the Padres, the largest margin of victory in a shutout win on Opening Day in MLB history. He became the 28th manager in Dodger franchise history on Nov. 23, 2015 and is the 10th skipper in Los Angeles Dodger history and the fourth to both play and manage for the team, joining Tommy Lasorda, Bill Russell and Glenn Hoffman.

Roberts became the first manager of color in Dodger franchise history. Following the conclusion of his playing career, Roberts spent the 2010 season in San Diego’s front office, before becoming the Padres’ first base coach from 2011-13. He served as San Diego’s bench coach for the 2014 and 2015 campaigns and managed the Padres for one game on June 15, 2015, following the departure of Bud Black.

Roberts and his wife, Tricia, have a son, Cole, and a daughter, Emmerson. He was born to an African American father and a Japanese mother in Okinawa and later attended Rancho Buena High School in Vista. As a quarterback, he led his squad to the San Diego Class 3 A State title in 1990 and later played baseball at UCLA and is the school’s all-time leader in stolen bases (109). Roberts graduated in 1995 with a degree in history and was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 28th round of the 1994 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

He is a member of Major League Baseball’s Diversity Pipeline Advisory Committee, the Player Development Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Board.

Roberts was inducted into the UCLA Sports Hall of Fame on July 15, 2020, along with Keira Goerl, Lauren Holiday, Kevin Love, Mike Powell, Noelle Quinn, Tasha Schwikert, Russell Westbrook and Adam Wright.

Stephen Nelson joins the Dodger broadcast for the first time in 2023 and is slated to call more than 50 home and road games for SportsNet LA this season. Nelson, 33, is a Southern California native and graduated from Chapman University. He attended Marina High School in Huntington Beach and has worked professionally for MLB Network, NHL Network, NBC Sports, YouTube and Apple-TV+ calling Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games.

In 2021, MLB Network tapped him to host its most popular show, “Intentional Talk,” alongside Kevin Millar. In addition to “IT,” Nelson has also hosted programs for the MLB and NHL networks, including “MLB Tonight,” “MLB Now,” “Hot Stove,” and
“NHL Tonight.” Prior to joining MLB Network, he was a host and broadcaster for “Bleacher Report.”

Nelson is a proud Japanese American and is the only Asian American play-by-play announcer working for a Major League Baseball team. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Cori, who is a news anchor for NBC News and MSNBC, their son, Kai, and dog, Nash.

Scott Akasaki enters his 22nd season and sixth as senior director of team travel. Akasaki, 46, was the first Asian American to be named to the post in Major League history and is just the fifth team travel representative for the Dodgers since they moved to Los Angeles in 1958. In December 2017, he was voted the Donald Davidson Traveling Secretary of the Year as voted upon by his peers.

During his tenure, Akasaki has guided the Dodgers to trips to Beijing, Sydney, Taipei, and Monterrey, Mexico. In the fall of 2014, Akasaki was selected by Major League Baseball to organize a team of MLB All Star players on a two-week, four-city, seven-game trip to Japan. In 2020, he led the Dodgers’ travel logistics as the team won at a World Championship in a bubble environment in Dallas. In 2021, his work with Dave Roberts against Asian hate was featured in ESPN.

A cum laude graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Akasaki double-majored in government and legal studies. He has served on pro baseball steering committees for both The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Four Seasons Hotels Limited. Akasaki has been a featured speaker at the Japanese American National Museum, the Claremont Colleges, UCLA, USC, and also various podcasts.

He, his wife Tiffany, daughter Miya, son Timothy, son Cole, son Tristan, and daughter Molly reside in Pasadena.

Emilee Fragapane is in her 11th season with the Dodgers. Her academic background is in economics and statistics at Sonoma State University and UC Santa Barbara. She joined the Dodgers as a baseball operations intern directly out of college, and now works to help integrate analytics and baseball between the front office and the coaches and players, with a focus on the rising availability of biomechanical data.

From a small rural town in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, she enjoys hiking, camping, and travel of all kinds in her free time.

Will Ireton, born and raised in Japan until the age of 15, grew up with a second-generation Japanese American father and first-generation Filipino mother in Tokyo. Aspiring to become a professional baseball player, he moved to Honolulu and attended Mid-Pacific Institute. After attending Occidental College and Menlo College in California, Ireton played professionally for WBC Team Philippines in the World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament (2012) and with the Texas Rangers organization (2013).

After his stints professionally, he took internship positions with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees to get a first look into how baseball operations work. Prior to joining the Dodgers, he served as the general manager for WBC Team Philippines in 2015. He was tasked to create a team with Filipino American Minor League players living in the U.S. and Filipino prospects residing in the Philippines.

Ireton initially joined the Dodgers as Kenta Maeda’s interpreter (2016-2018). Being exposed to how the Dodgers operate, he took on a position to become a development coach for the Dodgers’ 3A affiliate in Oklahoma City (2019), where he learned to apply technology and data into the day-to-day operations within the team, as well as coaching first base. He was promoted to the Major League team as performance operations coordinator (2020-2021) operating in a similar capacity but in the Major League level.

Ireton enters his eighth year in the organization and second year in his current role as performance operations manager. He manages the daily processes within the Major League team during the season and oversees projects that require cross-departmental collaboration during the offseason. The position has allowed him to be involved in both run production and run prevention, as well as scouting domestically and internationally.

He is excited to represent his diverse heritage in a field where representation matters more than ever.

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