David Ross Responds to Buzz He Could Succeed Joe Maddon with Cubs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2019

Former Chicago Cubs player David Ross throws a ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of baseball's National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross addressed the possibility he may be the team's next manager during Sunday's episode of Baseball Tonight.

"I think it's one of the best jobs in baseball," he said, per ESPN. "I've got a lot of close ties with those guys. I think the interest would be there. I think my heart is drawn to that dugout a little bit."

The manager position is open after president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon, who managed the team during the last five seasons, announced they were parting ways following the 2019 campaign.

"The rumors are flattering," Ross added. "It makes you think about a lot of things. I've got a nice job here at ESPN that I enjoy and gives me a lot of free time with my three kids."

Following Maddon would be a tall task for Ross or anyone. The three-time Manager of the Year did the seemingly impossible and led the Cubs to a World Series title for the first time since 1908 during a tenure that included four playoff appearances in five years.

Chicago reached the National League Championship Series in 2015 and 2017 and lifted the Commissioner's Trophy in 2016, breaking one of the most famous title droughts in sports history.

Ross was a significant part of that championship team as a veteran leader behind the plate who helped mentor some of the young and talented pieces of the core as they rounded into championship form.

"I've always looked at Rossy as a coach when he played here," third baseman Kris Bryant said. "Yeah, it was goofy, it was fun, it was energetic. But when he needed to tell you something, he let you hear it. From the very get-go, I felt like this guy will be a manager some day for sure."

Bryant wasn't the only leader in the Cubs clubhouse who seemed open to his former teammate taking the role of manager.

"If it was Rossy, I'd obviously sit down; I've talked to him about it before," Anthony Rizzo said. "He's in a really good place now at home with his family and what he's doing and he's happy. The pros and the cons. I mean, he's the biggest mentor in this game other than [Maddon]. Can it work? Yes. But I don't know which direction we are going in."

There will be plenty of pressure on Ross as a first-time manager if he does get the Chicago job.

The Cubs are a national brand with a massive fanbase that has grown accustomed to winning of late. The 2019 campaign was widely seen as a failure despite the fact that Chicago finished above .500 and was in the middle of the National League Central race for the vast majority of the season until a late collapse.

He seemed ready, though, when he said "I've got a lot of thinking to do if this gets presented to me as everyone says will happen. I'm sure waiting for that phone call."

Maddon will forever be remembered as the manager who snapped the Cubs' World Series drought. Perhaps Ross will be the one to usher in the next championship era for the North Siders.