Is it weird that the guy we call Grandpa is now actually among the younger managers in baseball?
Don’t care. Still gonna call him Grandpa.
David Ross takes to the mic today in his introductory press conference as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. So much of today will be abject fluff, but you might as well enjoy it anyway. It’s nice to see Ross back with the Cubs in such a highly-visible role. It just makes me smile a little.
But let’s be quite clear: the hiring is not about those smiles. Ross is going to be expected, without the benefit of a coaching or managerial background, to lead this Chicago Cubs team through a transformative period on the roster, on the field, and in the postseason. He’ll have some grace as he transitions into a new job, but probably not much, given the way the last couple years have gone. Most of the heat will be on the front office, yes, but Ross is their guy. He is their hand-picked, long-groomed choice to manage this club, and an extension of them in the clubhouse. Fair or not, Ross and the front office are kinda gonna ride or die together over the next couple years (and hopefully far beyond).
I do expect the press conference to eventually get into some meaty topics, what with the state of things.
We’ll be covering the press conference with bulleted notes below – basically the big or interesting moments, together with my thoughts and reactions on the fly. You can also listen live on 670 The Score, or watch this stream:
Away we go …
- David Ross wearing a fancy jacket for this one. Theo Epstein giving plenty of love to Ross for understanding the little things necessary to help create a winning environment. Picking guys up. Keeping them grounded. Providing energy. Preparation and focus every day.
- Epstein: we believe David has special gifts as a leader, and will become a great manager.
IT'S OFFICIAL: David Ross is the third catcher! pic.twitter.com/bo66fuLTcg
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 28, 2019
- Ross is thankful for the process, and he is honored to be able to lead the Cubs. He thanks everyone, including the fans, even as he knows the love might change as the years go on.
- Ross says he’s had an eye on being a manager for his entire career. He’s taken the last three years to prepare for this moment, despite his lack of experience.
- The daily process of getting ready for a game – the collaboration with the front office – is something he’s seen the last three years. He also was grateful to see a lot more of the minor league side.
- Ross did do some coaching in Spring Training, and he’s seen it closely while he was a player, so the concepts aren’t entirely foreign to him.
- Ross doesn’t want to have a dogmatic approach to when he makes certain decision – no preset notions – wants to let the game come to him and see it play out, and then make decisions.
- Ross: I’ve been a part of winning almost my entire life, and I know what that looks like. What the expectations are, both for the players and for myself.
- The interview process was very serious, and the more Ross was getting the questions, the more he felt the fire to really want this.
- The scrutiny is going to be intense from the fans and the media, and Ross believes his time in Boston and his time playing will help prepare him.
- Ross has a lot of learning and homework ahead, and he’s looking forward to it. He plans on talking to/visiting players in advance of Spring Training.
- The expectations from the front office are significant, and it’s collaborative in the process, but Ross is going to be his own man when it comes to managing. Theo: if you are a front office and want a puppet, you don’t hire David Ross.
- Theo: The front office wants a guy with his own ideas, with his own convictions on how to build and win, and those conversations make us all better.
- Ross: I’ve seen a lot from great managers, and started reflecting on the good and bad when I still playing and thinking about becoming a manager.
- Ross will take some things from Joe Maddon’s managerial style, and of course there was a lot of good. But Ross has his own stamp that he wants to put on things.
- Ross wants as much roster input as the front office wants from him – they’re pretty good at their job.
- The team might need to find a better routine on the road. You might not be able to pinpoint it exactly. But we need a little more comfort on the road, and hold guys accountable for the process. The wins and losses come and go, but the winning ways are what you focus on.
- Having Hispanic players isn’t going to be a problem, though Ross will need help from players and his coaches on the communication side, and that’s why the relationships are important.
- No comment on coaching staff right now.
- Ross pushes back on the idea that 2016 looms – there is a lot to take from that year because there was a lot of winning, but you have to look ahead.
- Theo says that 2016 has sometimes become a crutch for the organization or individual players – why don’t we go back to do the things the way we did then … but the game moves so fast. Things are so different now. You can take the “grind” from it, sure, but not the way things were done.
- Ross can be real with these guys and hold them to a high standard right away, so that’s probably going to be there right away. But the in-game feel, calling the shots, being a step ahead, using the bullpen properly, that’s going to take some time.
- Epstein was impressed by the way Ross received information, processed it, and then applied it to new situations in the second interview.
- That’s it. Nothing too earth-shattering, but a new thing for David Ross checked off. He’ll get better at the media stuff as his comfort in that particular setting grows, as he leaned on some of his prepared thoughts a bit more than you might have wanted to hear as a greedy consumer of info (you can see just how uniquely comfortable Joe Maddon is in that role of holding court). The guy knows his baseball, though, and also seems to know the reality of his situation: like the rest of us, he’s not REALLY gonna know how it’s gonna be until he’s actually in it. He was honest about that, and I appreciate it. It’s real.
Heh. I liked hearing Theo say, as the presser ended and he stood to shake Ross's hand: "Good job. That was awesome."
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 28, 2019