The Chicago Cubs are hiring David Ross as their next manager for the 2020 season.
Ross will be the Cubs’ 55th manager in franchise history, replacing Joe Maddon who was hired by the Los Angeles Angels. Ross is getting a three-year contract with a team option for 2023 season. Ross earned the job by beating five other candidates. Those candidates were; Cubs’ first base coach Will Venable, Cubs’ bench coach Mark Loretta, former Phillies’ manager Gab Kapler, former Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi and Astros’ bench coach Joe Espada.
Ross, better known as “Grandpa Rossy,” was a part of the Chicago Cubs’ historic run in 2016, winning their first World Series championship in 108 years. During Game 7, Ross hit a home run, making him the oldest player to do so in World Series history. Ross retired after the 2016 season, becoming an ESPN baseball analyst and a member of the team’s front office. So, is it really a surprise that he’s the next Cubs’ manager? I don’t think it’s a surprise, not one bit.
Ross is beloved by the organization, the players and the city of Chicago. Being in the front office, who knows the organization better than he does? This is why he is the right fit for the job. While everyone may think the same way I do, Cubs’ President Theo Epstein says otherwise.
“David’s connection to the organization and his relationship with his former teammates could be assets initially, but they were not factors in our decision nor will be critical to his long-term success in the role. He earned the job on the merits, and he will move the team forward in a new and different direction.” Epstein said.
This season, the Cubs’ record of 84-78 place them third in the division and a non-invitation to the playoffs. This was probably their toughest season thus far. There are many reasons why they did not make the playoffs; injuries, bullpen and inconsistency on the field. Regardless of the ups and downs during the season, that comes with the game. Everyone was hoping the players could pull it together and go on a run, but it did not turn out to be that way. After a victory against the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the series winning 8-2, the Cubs went on to lose the next two games, dropping the series 2-1. Their next opponent was division rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs went on to lose the series 4-0. Next was the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs lost the series 3-0. Their last opponents of the season were again the St. Louis Cardinals. Chicago went on to win the series 2-1 but it was not good enough to clinch the playoff. The Cubs went on a nine-game losing streak. If Chicago were to win six or seven of those nine games, they would’ve been second in the division which places the Milwaukee Brewers third in the division and they would have clinched the playoffs. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way.
Let’s face it, the Cubs were supposed to be a dynasty team. They were a young core ready to dominate the league for many years to come. Instead of building on that championship run, the Cubs suffered tough results each year. Let’s be clear, the Cubs are not completely done and they are far away from a rebuilding team. Hiring Ross as the new manager may bring a different attitude, energy and excitement to the team. Ross, who has never been a manager before, is excited for the opportunity to coach the players he once played with.
“A lot has been made, and rightfully so, of my connection to the 2016 World Series team, and the notion that I’ll now be managing players I once counted on as teammates,” Ross said. “Having those relationships going into this will be a bonus, no doubt about it. But those guys know I’ll be the first to hold them accountable, the first to demand their best daily effort and the first to let them know about it if they give anything but their best.”
Saying Ross has a lot stacked against him if he doesn’t get the Cubs back to the playoff is an understatement. This is still a great team that has a lot of potential to win another championship. Will Grandpa Rossy deliver another championship in Wrigleyville?