First-year Cubs manager David Ross is ready to whatever comes his way.
For the first time since 2014, someone other than Joe Maddon is at the helm of the Chicago Cubs. This spring, former fan favorite backstop David Ross reported to Arizona for his first spring training. Then, less than a month later, the world came screeching to a halt – throwing the 2020 season into limbo.
Now, Ross and his players are finally in the Windy City, working out at Wrigley Field ahead of the July 23-24 Opening Day. This year would’ve marked a lot of firsts for the Chicago skipper. Now, though, that’s true not just for Ross, but all of baseball.
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There will be no All-Star Game; the league canceled this year’s Midsummer Classic, awarding Los Angeles the 2022 event instead with Atlanta set to play host next summer. Gone is the 162-game marathon we’ve all come to know and love – replaced instead by a 60-game sprint. But regardless of all the differences we’re going to experience this year, on and off the field, Ross isn’t sweating it.
“Everything we’re having to do now is unique, especially my first year at the helm,” Ross said. “There’s definitely messages that I didn’t know I was going to have to deliver to the guys, but we’ve got a good group of guys.”
Last fall, the postseason didn’t feature the Cubs for the first time since 2014. A September swoon cost the team their shot at returning to October – as well as Maddon his job. Ross was always going to be the successor, regardless of what the front office’s public statements indicated. Now, at long last, he has a chance to prove himself.
This isn’t a typical season where you can weather rough stretches by picking it up late in the year. It’s win now – and the margin for error is smaller than ever. At the end of the day, though, Ross is going to preach a state of vigilance in the dugout and away from the field.
“That whole saying of, ‘Be comfortable being uncomfortable,'” Ross said, “I think we’re going to have to flip that on its head. It’s, ‘As soon as you’re comfortable, that’s when you should be uncomfortable.’ If you’re sitting down and things seem fine, you need to be aware of your surroundings, you need to be aware of your environment.”
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David Ross knows what it takes to win. He’s talked the talk, walked the walk and everything in between. Soon, he’ll (hopefully) have the chance to write the next chapter in his career as the Cubs take aim at another title in an unfamiliar landscape.