David Ross is an in-demand personality who can pivot in several different directions during his post-playing career. But rejoining the Cubs in a front-office role sounds like a matter of when, not if.
Waking up from a dream season where he homered in Game 7 and teammates carried him off the field after the Cubs won the World Series, Ross already has a deal lined up with Hachette Book Group and co-author Don Yaeger for “Teammate: My Life in Baseball.”
Ross also has the type of upbeat, energetic personality that would translate on TV. And after catching almost 6,000 innings in The Show, he’s accumulated so much practical experience and made enough connections that the industry could envision him on a track to become a bench coach or a manager.
“I’ve got three or four things I need to sift through,” Ross said this week during a sit-down interview at his home in Tallahassee, Florida, part of the reflections that will help anchor CSN Chicago’s upcoming replay of those 11 playoff wins. “I have been waiting for the kids to get out of school so we can go through them with my family.
“I want to see what the time commitment is. It’s time to stop having my family adjust to my schedule – and for me to start adjusting to theirs a little more. They’ve always had to come see Dad – and fly here or fly there – and get out of school to go here for me.”
Ross is still only three months away from his 40th birthday – and if we’re talking about backup catchers, we would probably rather read a Miguel Montero memoir on the 2016 Cubs – but “Grandpa Rossy” became a glue guy for the teams that won 200 games and five playoff rounds across the last two years.
Ross worked as Jon Lester’s personal catcher, turned into a social-media sensation on the Instagram account started by Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant and drew waves of reporters to his locker after playoff games (whether or not he played that night).
[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]
“I’m still going to stay in baseball,” Ross said. “I feel like I’m connected to the Cubs for life – or (at least) I want to be. For me to not take advantage of the knowledge that front office has would be naïve.
“There’s a lot of Hall of Famers in that front office. And I want to get to know that side of things. So, yeah, I’m sure there’s something that’s going to work out in the future with the Cubs.
“But I have a lot of other commitments and things I want to do (while trying) to get a life after baseball where I keep my foot in the door some way.”
That door will remain open in Wrigleyville.
“There’s definitely interest on our part,” general manager Jed Hoyer said during last week’s winter meetings. “It would seem almost a shame if he wasn’t (around). He was such a big part of what we did from a team-chemistry standpoint.
“Probably no one has a better feel for what we’ll need – what tweaks we’ll need in the clubhouse or what’s going on – than he will. So I think having him around in the next few years (would be) really valuable.”
Ross made more than $22 million, according to the salary database at Baseball-Reference.com, during a big-league career that began in 2002 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and saw him earn a World Series ring with the 2013 Boston Red Sox.
Theo Epstein’s group already features Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Kerry Wood as special assistants, with ex-players like Kevin Youkilis and John Baker also involved in baseball operations. Maybe Ross stays involved as a catching consultant while trying to figure out his next big move.
“Certainly, we’d love to have him around,” Hoyer said. “He has such a good feel. It’s so rare to have a guy that has that kind of feel for our own clubhouse. How do you not want that guy around?”