David Ross didn’t exactly ride off into the sunset once Cubs teammates Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward picked him up onto their shoulders and carried him off the field after last year’s World Series Game 7 in Cleveland.
Ross “retired” and spent the last year performing on “Dancing with the Stars,” writing a memoir that’s already in movie development, appearing on multiple ESPN platforms and working as a special assistant in Theo Epstein’s front office.
Meaning it won’t be easy for the Cubs to pull Ross back in after Sunday’s news that Dave Martinez will be the next Washington Nationals manager.
Two sources familiar with Grandpa Rossy’s situation and the team’s thinking framed it like this: Ross would be on the short list of ideal candidates to become Joe Maddon’s bench coach, but it’s also doubtful that the timing will be right for someone who is raising a young family in Florida and has so many off-the-field interests. After getting so little time off this year, Ross is said to be waiting until after the World Series is over before even considering anything else for next season.
One internal candidate could be Brandon Hyde, the first base coach for the last three seasons and a bench coach for Rick Renteria (2014) and with the Florida Marlins (2010-11).
Ross is only 40 years old and can pretty much write his own job description, whether it’s eventually taking the leap as a big-league manager, focusing on broadcasting or pursuing more crossover opportunities in the sports/entertainment worlds.
Ross already has built-in relationships in the clubhouse from his time as Jon Lester’s personal catcher and another kind of big brother to Rizzo. Heyward had been so appreciative of the way Ross looked after him when he came up with the Atlanta Braves that he said thanks by paying for a hotel suite upgrade on the road all last season.
But in terms of new voices and different messages, Maddon and his players will already be working with high-profile new coaches Jim Hickey (pitching) and Chili Davis (hitting) and well-regarded third base coach Brian Butterfield.