Chicago Cubs: Can Ross bring an edge back to this team?
Unsurprising and expected. That’s about the only way to describe David Ross returning to the Chicago Cubs as the team’s next manager.
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He’s been groomed for this role for the last three years. Even as a player, anyone around him knew that he’d likely have opportunities to return to the dugout down the road in such a role. Now, that time has come and he’ll be tasked with leading the Cubs back to the postseason after the team failed to reach October for the first time since 2014.
Far too many people expect Ross to be some good-natured teddy bear with his former teammates. Sure, he’ll have some fun with the guys – but he’s here to win. Anyone who thinks he can’t hold these men accountable has another thing coming and has clearly bought into the media narrative surrounding ‘Grandpa Rossy.
"“Joe often used the word authentic when he described me and the 2016 Cubs,” Ross said in his 2017 book Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages. “He also knew that I didn’t bullshit people. I was straight up with everyone. I was blunt, and at times, a sledgehammer. Joe told me that quality would benefit me if I were to become a manager. But he also always tried to impart on me that ‘honesty without compassion can equal cruelty at times.’ He believed that if I became a manager I would need to lighten the message a bit on occasion.”"
So, sure – the Cubs know what they’re getting in Ross. But that’s hardly taking the easy way out or just installing their stars’ buddy as manager. This is a guy who spent his career largely out of the spotlight, doing everything behind the scenes to make himself a better player and teammate.
Chicago made the right call in Ross. He checks a lot of boxes – and he may very well join Aaron Boone, Rocco Baldelli and Alex Cora in the line of inexperienced young managers taking the game by storm.