Chicago Cubs: David Ross talks curses, championships and giving back

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Huggies)
(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Huggies) /
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Two years into retirement, former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross isn’t slowing down as he eyes another potential curse-breaking team this summer.

A journeyman backup catcher rarely sees fame after his playing career draws to a close. Yet, that’s exactly what 41-year-old David Ross experiences on a daily basis. After helping the Chicago Cubs win their first title in 108 years, he’s danced with the stars, become a fixture on ESPN MLB broadcasts and doing everything he can to leave his mark in the world.

Most recently, Ross paired up with soccer star Landon Donovan and Modelo. You might find this strange given Team USA failed to qualify for this summer’s excitement. But, in reality, it makes a lot of sense. A man with a penchant for curse-breaking teams, he’s pulling for Team Mexico this month.

The curse? Since 1994, Team Mexico has failed to advance past the Round of 16 in the World Cup. This year, they hope, will be different.

Breaking curses is nothing new for Ross

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Of course, Ross knows a little something about breaking curses and what goes into that.

"“One of Modelo’s slogans is, ‘Talent wins games, but a fighting spirit helps break a curse.’ I believe that,” he told me over the weekend. “Talent, at the end of the day, is gonna win you games. But you gotta have that extra fighting spirit. Talent does win games, but to win a championship, you’ve gotta have the whole package – everybody to fulfill their roles.”"

Aside from a small rough patch heading into the season’s midway point, the 2016 Cubs rolled. 103 regular season wins, a National League Central crown and, ultimately, a championship. For Ross’ part, though, he always viewed the task of winning a title as a ‘one day at a time’ project.

Sure, everyone remembers how that historic season drew to a close. His Cubs teammates carried Ross off the field after Game 7 at Progressive Field as the celebration began in the visitors clubhouse. But the journey started over six months earlier, as the team worked through Spring Training.

"“I think it just goes to the daily process. I know it sounds cheesy, but I don’t think you’re trying to start the season coming out of Spring Training as the perfect team,” Ross said. “I think you’re growing and learning to work with one another, to build relationships and get better at things you’re not good at.”"

Chemistry, talent – you need the entire package

When asked whether talent or chemistry mattered more in breaking a curse, Ross gave a nice, straight answer: both mean a lot.

As he noted earlier in our discussion, talent wins games. It gets you that division crown or home field advantage. But in those true moments of adversity – such as watching Rajai Davis‘ game-tying home run fly over the wall in Game 7 – having teammates who are on the same page makes all the difference.

And, as Ross pointed out, you can only control what you can control – not just in sports, but in life.

"“If you’re a team that’s growing all year long and is trying to become the best version of yourselves that you can be, that’s all you can do. That’s all you can control.”"

Breaking curses and turning it into something bigger

Bigger? How can it get any bigger than breaking a curse that’s plagued a fan base for years and years? Well, in Ross’ case, it did in the opportunities he’s had since his playing career drew to a close.

He’s worked with Huggies and Walgreens on charity events, helped overhaul a ball field near his home in Florida and he says the requests and opportunities keep rolling in.

"“I’ve gotten to do so many great things. Trying to bring a positive outlook on how I see life and help out in ways I can. (I’m) just trying to take advantage of all the great opportunities I’ve been presented with because it’s because of those guys in Chicago.”"

Breaking curses is a semi-religious event for many fans. No Cubs fan will ever forget where they were when Kris Bryant fired a throw across the diamond to Anthony Rizzo, erasing 108 years of history in the process.

Next: Baez, Contreras represent Cubs' best ASG chances

Curse-breaking can change people. More accurately, fame changes folks. But for David Ross, he’s still doing what we all loved him for on the North Side. Working hard, staying humble and rooting for the little guy.

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