UPDATE: Here’s the official scoop on David Ross’ new gig as Cubs manager.
Ross/Cubs hiring official. three-year deal with option for 2023. Presser on Monday.— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) October 24, 2019
Now, here’s the rest of the article as originally written.
Just a little less than three years ago, David Ross’ Cubs teammates carried him off the field in Cleveland after the Cubs won the World Series.
I used the photo of that event at the top of this article to make a point here. Perhaps in the near future, Cubs players can do that again after he leads them to another World Series championship. We can dream, right?
Ross will officially be named Cubs manager soon, with a press conference to follow. If that announcement isn’t made today, a World Series off day, the Cubs and Ross will have to wait until Monday, which could be another Series off day. Or, if the Nationals keep playing as they have, the Series could be over by then.
I have always felt that Ross was the right choice to succeed Joe Maddon as Cubs manager. In an ideal world, that would have been after Maddon won another title and retired, with Ross the heir apparent. Real life doesn’t always work the way we’d want it to, and so instead Ross comes in to manage a team that collapsed in the last two weeks of the 2019 season and missed the playoffs. It’s been said that Theo Epstein wanted someone who would hold the players more “accountable,” whatever definition of that word you choose, than Maddon did.
Ross did that very well in his two years as a player with the Cubs. The cuddly “Grandpa Rossy” personality was fun, sure, and that was all part of helping players remember Maddon’s saying: “Don’t let the pressure exceed the pleasure.” But “Grandpa Rossy” was mostly for fans. Inside the clubhouse, we heard stories of Ross getting in the face of teammates he didn’t think were doing things the right way. He’ll have to do that again as manager, and I believe he will.
But he can also be someone who does something like this at a critical moment:
Ross is a smart guy who’s been in baseball all his life, including 15 years as a big-league player. He’s played for the following big-league managers, in this order: Jim Tracy, Lloyd McClendon, Pete Mackanin, Bruce Bochy, Jerry Narron, Mackanin again, Dusty Baker, Terry Francona, Bobby Cox, Fredi Gonzalez, John Farrell and Maddon.
That’s a pretty good selection of managers, five of whom (Francona, Bochy, Cox, Farrell and Maddon) have managed World Series winners. In this MLB Trade Rumors article, Ross, quoted from an interview with Boston-area podcast, said this:
And as someone who played in the majors for a decade and a half, Ross thinks he learned what not to do from less successful managers. In his discussion with Bradford, Ross opined he’s well aware “what a bad manager looks like.”
That’s a good sign of self-awareness, that Ross understands both what a good and bad manager can do on a team, and he’ll certainly apply those lessons as well as those he’s learned through his playing career. Here’s another way of looking at that from Patrick Mooney at The Athletic:
Ross won’t simply be an extension of Maddon. While unforgettable, Ross’ two seasons in Chicago represent a fraction of his career. Ross has played in big cities like Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago, as well as small markets like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Ross noticed how Cox trusted his veterans to police the clubhouse and briefly played for Bruce Bochy and Terry Francona. After a career that spanned from 2002 to 2016, Ross has seen how much the game has changed and recognized what makes a bad manager and what drives good teams.
After the hire of Ross is officially announced, we’ll await the naming of his coaching staff, though I am reasonably certain that Tommy Hottovy, Anthony Iapoce and Mike Borzello will be back, as well as Lester Strode if he doesn’t retire (Strode’s been rumored to be retiring for the last three years).
Ross was my choice for this position, so I’m happy the Cubs chose him. There will be times when you’ll be upset with a lineup choice or bullpen move he made or didn’t make, but that’s the territory all managers inhabit. I wish him all the best and I hope we see him next to another trophy on some early November day in the coming years.
One last note about David Ross, MLB player: If you did not know this previously, here’s a look at Ross’ first major-league home run. It happened September 2, 2002 in Arizona, off former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace, who was pitching in a blowout:
David Ross, Cubs manager!
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