After much speculation, former Cubs catcher David Ross is set to become the team's next manager, replacing Joe Maddon.
While we'll know more soon about what went into the Cubs' decision to hire Ross, minor details are coming out regarding the interview process. According to two reports, the team was impressed with Ross' delivery of a mock speech and how he handled a mock press conference.
Per source - one of the things that put Ross over the top for the job with the Cubs, was his strong delivery of a mock 2020 Spring Training team speech. The club asked Ross and Joe Espada to compose and deliver mock speeches for the staff during their second interviews.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) October 23, 2019
As I said on the radio several times, Espada was brought in Sunday and did a mock press conference as well as a fake "talk" with the team. Ross did the same on Monday. Obviously a strength for Ross. Not sure if it clinched the job for him but it didn't hurt.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) October 23, 2019
This isn't the first time the Cubs have asked managerial candidates to partake in such activities. After interviewing for the Cubs' vacancy In November 2011, former manager Dale Sveum partook in an actual press conference featuring questions from the media. He wasn't hired at that point, but the presser was part of the Cubs' interview process.
No, Ross wasn't named the Cubs' next manager solely on the mock speech and press conference. His clubhouse leadership and familiarity with the organization are two big factors. But the speech points to Ross' strength in the latter category; his ability to represent the organization positively through media relations — one of Maddon's strengths — is important, too.
Whether these strengths lead to wins is to be determined, but Ross clearly impresed the Cubs for a multitude of reasons.