Chicago Cubs: David Ross, meet Yogi Berra

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 28: Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs, (L) David Ross, new manager of the Chicago Cubs (C) and Jed Hoyer, general manager of the Cubs (R) pose for a photo as Ross is introduced to the media at Wrigley Field on October 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 28: Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs, (L) David Ross, new manager of the Chicago Cubs (C) and Jed Hoyer, general manager of the Cubs (R) pose for a photo as Ross is introduced to the media at Wrigley Field on October 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next
Chicago Cubs new manager David Ross (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs new manager David Ross (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: David Ross, meet Yogi Berra

Beware, Rossy, Managing Ain’t as Easy as It Looks

The Cubs didn’t exactly hire David Ross for his box office alone, though Ross’s popularity in Cub Country certainly doesn’t hurt. No less than president Theo Epstein laid it out when he agreed to introduce Ross’s 2017 memoir:

More from Call to the Pen

"The watchful eye from the dugout to make sure we respected the game and played the Cub Way. Unselfish, team-first, winning baseball. The glare when someone did something that wasn’t Cub. The rare harsh word when it happened again. The high-fives and pats on the rear when it got fixed. The instinct when to know when to create levity and when to get guys locked in. Reminding the young players how good they are. Reminding them they can get better. Words to keep the team grounded when winning seemed easy. Words to lift up the team when losing just one more would end the season."

That sounded as though the Cubs looked at Ross even then as a charter member of Future Cub Managers of America. But take heed, Grandpa Rossy. Beware that the Cubs’ front office isn’t exactly immune to foolishness itself. Remember that your buds-turned-subordinates are only human, too, especially in the event that they hit a few rough patches during the season to come.

Joe Torre admits to Stark that when he became the Mets’ manager it “was horrible” when he had to suspend a player for “insubordination.” Decades later, managing the Yankees, Torre hooked Denny Neagle when Neagle was an out away from qualifying for what would have been his only World Series win. Neagle never spoke to Torre again.

Ross thinks he won’t have quite such problems even as he admits that you never really know. He tells Stark of a talk he had with Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, for whom he was once the personal catcher. After Ross talked to Lester about the possibility of a hook in the big moments, Lester cracked up. “You’ve been taking me out of games your whole career, coming out there and telling me I’m done,” the pitcher told his former catcher. So don’t worry about it.”

Next. MLB Projections: The 2020 batting champion could be.... dark

Well, those old Yankee pitchers could have said likewise to Yogi Berra until it actually happened, too. Ross is about to learn the hard way how simple it isn’t to manage your friends. And it’s to pray that he doesn’t have to face even half the treachery that even the beloved Berra had to face.