The Cubs Needed An In-Your-Face Manager Like David Ross, CubsCon, and Other Cubs Bullets

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The Cubs Needed An In-Your-Face Manager Like David Ross, CubsCon, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Bulls and Bears have done their best to obliterate my groin the last couple days, so I sure hope something crazy and good happens in the World Series tonight to apply a metaphorical pack of frozen peas. I don’t know what it could be that would really chill me out, but maybe cameras will spy Gerrit Cole trying on Cubs uniforms in the dugout, or Anthony Rendon checking out Zillow for the North Side between pitches.

  • The 2020 Cubs Convention has been announced, and passes/packages go on sale Friday:

  • The BN crew will be around that weekend, meeting folks, seeing panels, engaging shenanigans. That reminds me: I’m thinking about doing some charity shenanigans again this year for the Winter Meetings. It’s been a few years since we last did something (raised money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by wearing my ugly Cubs Christmas sweater for the entire week), and we have such a great community – and writers who are willing to be ridiculous – that it would be fun to do something again. I’m wide open on suggestions and causes, and we’ve got a little over a month to put something together. So if you’ve got ideas, shout ’em out!
  • It’s impossible not to compare the new guy to the old guy when the old guy wanted to stay and was instead let go. I know – and believe! – that the Cubs loved Joe Maddon’s work, and just felt it was time to make significant changes. So the selection of David Ross was not about “replacing a bad manager” with “the better new manager”, but instead was “we are moving on, who’s the best guy for us right now?” Again, I really believe all this.
  • But you know when someone sets all that up, they’re going to say something that conflicts with it. Sorry, I can’t help it. Because this was my read, too:

  • As we’ve gone through this process, you increasingly got the sense that Joe Maddon’s laissez-faire style was so good and perfect for the Cubs’ extremely unique situation in 2015 and 2016, especially with that combination of very young players and grizzled vets. But as the young players got more experienced and started more and more to do their own thing, and as key veterans departed, Maddon’s style kinda let the complacency slip in (my words, not theirs). That’s why we saw last offseason being all about trying to turn around that culture – remember all that stuff about getting their “edge” back? More batting practice? More Maddon hands-on involvement? Releasing lineups to the players on a series-by-series basis (which I’ve heard actually only lasted a couple months)? Limiting alcohol and fast food?
  • That stuff is not Joe Maddon’s “fault” – instead, it was kind of a natural outgrowth of his (very successful) style and the composition of a roster that had just come of ending THE drought of all droughts. So, yeah, I can very easily see how the front office now feels it’s necessary to have a manager who is going to be considerably more in-the-players-face.
  • Relatedly, the other big takeaway from the presser yesterday was this line from Theo Epstein:

  • Ross will be empowered to make his own in-game decisions (with all the necessary info, but he emphasized that he doesn’t like going into games with predetermined notions of things he has to do), though a reminder that the most important job for the manager is creating a day-to-day environment that puts players in a position to be their best for 162 games.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • And on the choice of Ross over finalist Joe Espada, it was more or less the intangibles:

  • Either really bad timing for it, or not-quite-terrible timing for it, since the Cubs are overhauling their internal structure and staff anyway:

  • Hughes has been an up-and-comer for a while on the scouting side, and you don’t get poached to be the national crosschecker of the Yankees if you’re not really, really good. So, yeah. This is probably a bummer.
  • Speaking of Yankees-Cubs connections, former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild (whoo boy, remember those days? 2002-2010 … lotta good pitching, actually) was just fired by the Yankees after a decade. He’s a bit older school than the current crop of coaches, obviously, but that’s a good, experienced baseball mind right there. Wouldn’t mind seeing if he wants some kind of gig in the Cubs organization again.
  • Big change coming to the DRS statistic, which might markedly improve how well advanced defensive metrics describe player performance in the current era:

  • Although you may have thought this was already the Brewers’ primary logo, given that it’s probably the best logo in baseball (sigh), it was not. It is now:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.