People talked about David Ross as a future manager when he was still playing, so it’s only natural that speculation of his return would continue as he’s remained close to the game in retirement. And since Ross cemented his cult hero status as a member of the Cubs’ World Series team by hitting a homer in the final at-bat of his career, he’s constantly being tied to the job that figures to open up at the conclusion of Joe Maddon’s contract.
It doesn’t hurt that Ross also works with the Cubs as a special advisor, specifically by instructing Willson Contreras and the other catchers during spring training. Oh, then there’s the part where Theo Epstein openly lamented the leadership void created when Ross left.
Throughout all the talk, though, the one man saying next to nothing about Ross’s desire to return to the game in an official capacity is Ross himself. He’s enjoying his career as a broadcaster with ESPN, a job that keeps him in baseball while also giving him far more time with his young family than he’d get by putting a uniform back on.
But what he shared with Mark Carman of WGN and FanSided while joining the On the Mark podcast seems to indicate a desire to step back into the dugout. Even though Ross made it very clear that he believes Maddon should be retained, he offered a very strong indication that he’s interested in running a team.
“Do I one day have an itch to manage? That’s definitely crossed my mind with all the rumors that fly around,” Ross explained. “And do I want to put my stamp on a team and the things I believe in? Of course. You see things, even as a casual fan, you start to want to kinda do things your way.
“It’s all about opportunity. I think when you have to give up and sacrifice family time, it’s gotta be worth it. I don’t do things halfway, I go all-in, so that’s a huge commitment from me. It’s definitely flattering to hear those rumors.”
So he’s definitely got the itch and wants to put his stamp on a team, just as long as it’s the perfect situation to justify either moving his family or spending a lot more time away from them. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’s letting it be known that he’d be willing to talk turkey should the Cubs come calling. Just, you know, without just coming out and saying as much.
Ross is considered the favorite for the gig by many in the industry, though the folks in Vegas have assigned the best early odds to Mark Loretta. Joe Maddon is actually second on that list, followed by Ross and Joe Girardi. Whatever direction the Cubs choose to take, don’t expect them to make this a drawn-out process.
Given the need to reestablish or recreate chemistry and culture in the organization, having their new manager installed quickly is a must. It’s hard to imagine this search playing out much beyond the end of the season, as there is surely a short list of candidates from which to choose.