News broke via the usual suspects (Jesse Rogers & Dave Kaplan) that the Chicago Cubs have decided to hire David Ross to manage the team, replacing Joe Maddon, who has already found a new home next to Disneyland.
Of course, if you ever want to know just how much anything sucks there’s no better place to turn than Cubs Twitter. I saw takes ranging from “The team can’t take him seriously as he’s been on Dancing With The Stars” to “The Cubs only have a 1% chance of winning, because every team has a 3%, then you add Ross and that brings it down to 1%” with a side of “Ross* doesn’t know how to face the media after losing 7 straight.” Guys, don’t change a hair for me. Not if you care for me.
Twice now, Theo Epstein has assembled a team that has had the ability to win a World Series, and someone to manage them. He brought in several people who will all have managing jobs before Opening Day to interview, and Ross was their choice. They clearly have a process for doing this, and it’s proven to be completely successful twice.
I’m not saying David Ross is going to waltz in to the clubhouse (and we’ve all seen him waltz**) and suddenly be the second coming of John McGraw or Rube Foster. But the fact that they chose Ross over Astros bench coach Joe Espada – who is the new hotness – means there’s clearly something there that they like.
Now, I’m not going to completely rule out the fact that the Business Ops side of the house didn’t butt in on the decision making, but I’ve got a feeling that Epstein would have his resignation on Tom Ricketts’ desk fairly soon after that happened. But from a “we’re trying to get a new network off the ground” perspective, Ross makes perfect sense.
The bottom line is, you don’t have to like the Ross hiring of you don’t want to. But he’s still going to be the guy making the lineup and changing pitchers. Speaking of which, considering the Cubs’ bullpen was a steaming hot bowl of ass last season, wouldn’t you want a guy who has an entire career of successfully handling pitchers? But like I said, don’t like it if you don’t want to.
This also cements Joe Maddon’s legacy with the Cubs, as Ross becomes the 6th MLB manager to play or coach under Maddon – the others being Tim Bogar, Dave Martinez, Gabe Kapler, Rocco Baldelli and Brandon Hyde. This list may grow before pitchers and catchers, as both current Cubs coaches Will Venable and Mark Loretta are reported to be in the mix for other managing jobs.
I made my preference for Espada known previously, but nobody ever accused me of being too smart for my own good. Let’s see how wrong I am.
*One of the most media friendly people in baseball, mind you.
**Both standard and Viennese!