Cubs Need to Pay the Ross to Be the Boss, or at Least Middle Management
I know I’ve been writing a lot about Tyson lately, but the Ross in question this time around is none other than that Goliath-slaying SOB who just retired. The Cubs have made a practice of hiring former big leaguers, particularly those who’ve plied their trade on Chicago’s north side, and I can’t imagine a better addition to the front office staff than David Wade Ross.
With his square, silver-flecked jaw and straightforward steadiness, Ross created and maintained stability like the blade of a snowplow. Heck, he even made opposing fans a little salty. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say the Cubs need to bring Grandpa Rossy back, but it sure would be a good move for the organization. There’s no doubt the opportunity is there, it’s just a matter of the freshly minted folk hero deciding on what his life after baseball looks like.
“I want to see what the time commitment is,” Ross said during an interview that will accompany CSN Chicago’s replay of the Cubs’ 11 playoff wins. “It’s time to stop having my family adjust to my schedule – and for me to start adjusting to theirs a little more.”
As admirable as this sounds, does anyone really believe a role as special assistant to the special assistant of the assistant roving minor league hitting assistant is some kind of major time drag? I think Ryan Dempster’s only commitment is to dress up as Will Ferrell’s version of Harry Caray and force Len Kasper to conduct incredibly uncomfortable interviews. That’s, what, three hours at most?
And does anyone think Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III is doing much of anything during this, his cooling off period? When he’s not busy being honored by squealing hordes of dorky social media types, John Baker does little other than mess with his fanny pack and hone his jiu jitsu (just kidding, John, I don’t want to be taken to the mat and choked out). Then you’ve got Kerry Wood, whose primary responsibilities include sneaking post-victory champagne into suites. This gig is easy, Grandpa Rossy.
“I’ve got three or four things I need to sift through…But I have a lot of other commitments and things I want to do to get a life after baseball where I keep my foot in the door some way.”
Dude, don’t give me that. You know you want to be around this team a little while longer, to see your surrogate grandkids continue the legacy you helped them to establish.
“I’m still going to stay in baseball,” the graying old man said. “I feel like I’m connected to the Cubs for life, or I want to be. For me to not take advantage of the knowledge that front office has would be naïve. There’s a lot of Hall of Famers in that front office. And I want to get to know that side of things. So, yeah, I’m sure there’s something that’s going to work out in the future with the Cubs.”
That’s what I’m talkin’ about, Rossy! You can’t walk away from this completely, not after what you were just a part of (or “apart” if you’re using Twitter grammar). You’ve gotta come back, you’ve just gotta.
Okay, let’s move out of my fanboy fantasy and get into more of the serious side of this thing. Ross’s concern for wanting to spend time with his family is more than valid, it’s necessary. As a resident of Tallahassee, Florida, it’s unlikely he’d be able to be a “normal” dad were he to accept a full-time gig with the Cubs. A job with a little less responsibility, though, that could work.
Those on the outside surely scoffed at the praise afforded Ross this past season, but his impact on the Cubs can’t be denied. I’m not talking about his resurgent offensive campaign or the laser-rocket arm he displayed in support of Jon Lester. The veteran catcher served as an ideal bridge between Joe Maddon and the youth movement that fueled the world title. His unique mix of levity and pragmatism was a welcome addition to a team that had a significant amount of both.
And if that makes it sound like he’s redundant, you don’t really know much about David Ross. This dude understood his role, knew exactly what he was there to do, and did the hell out of it. That’s the kind of in-depth insight you can only get from Cubs Insider, folks.
I have no doubt that Ross will eventually end up back in baseball, whether that’s with the Cubs or another team remains to be seen. He strikes me as the perfect bench coach, a guy who can keep the mood light one moment and bust balls the next. But he also strikes me as a guy who wants to chill for a year or two and just be dad instead of Grandpa. So I can see him limiting his official connection to the game in the immediate future, though I’m sure he’ll be around the Cubs and baseball in general.