In preparation for his first season as manager of the Chicago Cubs, David Ross is seeking advice from some of the biggest minds in the game.
There’s plenty at stake for the Chicago Cubs in 2020. That marks the first year in the post-Joe Maddon era, coming off an 84-win season where the team missed the postseason altogether for the first time since 2014.
Change, to put it mildly, is afoot in Wrigleyville. A big part of that change? Former catcher and first-year manager David Ross looking to put his mark on the franchise he helped bring a World Series title to just over three years ago.
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“He’s open-minded and doesn’t have an ego about this. He’s soaking it all in,” Theo Epstein told The Athletic (subscription required). He knows what he doesn’t know, but he certainly has a point of view on everything in the game because he’s been so attentive through the years. It’s great to see that combination of traits, the open-mindedness but also the backbone to have an opinion.”
Ross inherits a roster with plenty of talent – and more than its fair share of questions, as well. There’s no telling how many of the team’s stars will still be on the club when everyone reports to camp in Arizona in mid-February. The pitching staff has holes – but a great deal of experience, as well.
For his part, though, Ross is leaving nothing to chance. He’s relying on the people around him in the organization and the friends he has around the game as he prepares for his first season in the dugout. He knows what the stakes are – and is doing everything in his power to be as well-rounded was possible when he fills out the lineup card for the first time.
“The important part for me and this staff was surrounding myself with good people, good energy, hard workers, smart guys, and delegating a lot of this work that comes across my desk. I want as much experience as I possibly can because I’m going to need help in a lot of areas.”
The days of Maddon’s happy-go-lucky approach are now in the past. That mentality was perfect for an up-and-coming team looking to make history and erase a century of disappointment. But it got stale once the confetti fell and the parade was something relegated to the memories of millions of fans.
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Ross knows all too well how critical fans were of Maddon’s in-game decisions, especially in the latter years of his tenure in Chicago. He’ll hit plenty of the same bumps in the road but may get a longer leash given his inexperience and fan-favorite status. One thing’s for sure though: when he hits those bumps, he’s not going to shy away from the challenge and will do everything in his power to learn and adapt as he goes.