Cubs

What does accountability look like to David Ross?

What does accountability look like to David Ross?

You've undoubtedly heard the word "accountability" floated around the Cubs in the two-and-a-half months since the 2019 season ended.

More than likely, you've heard it uttered long before that regarding the Cubs and their desire — nay, NEED — for "accountability" around the team. 

But what is accountability? What form does it take? Why is it so important?

Five years ago Joe Maddon was the right guy at the right time for the Cubs, the celebrity manager adept at managing the clubhouse and forming a winning culture. But over the last couple years, his laid-back ways turned into less of a strength and more of a weakness.

It became clear to Theo Epstein and those in charge that a change was needed.

One such change is the need for more accountability, putting players in their place and enacting consequences for stepping out of line. That is a major point of emphasis for new manager David Ross. 

Ross himself admitted "the accountability thing is a real thing" last week in his first solo session with the Chicago media as Cubs manager. He said he's already chatted with several players on the roster about the need for leadership and accountability inside the clubhouse.

So...what does this buzzword mean to Ross?

"It's just about the quality of at-bats and the things that you expect. When you communicate with your players and your team of what you expect and you don't see that, then you have to say something," he said on SportsTalk Live. "I equate it a lot to being a dad. I want to have fun with my kids. I want to love my kids, but when my kids act up and do things that I don't expect them to do or things that I feel like is misbehaving, I got to call that out or else they’re not going to have any structure in their life. 

"I just want to create a little structure from the top now from my seat and get these guys back to what I know they’re capable of doing and again, what winning looks like and holding them accountable of, when you see it maybe going the other way."

The key word in there might be "structure." Ross is aiming to bring more structure to the group, and that's exactly what his bosses are asking of him. 

The Cubs brass felt players took advantage of Maddon's no-rules clubhouse and that was part of the impetus behind the managerial change.

That's not to say the Cubs will move forward as if the Maddon Era never happened, but Ross is actually banking on a rude awakening for the players when they report to spring training.

"I hope it's a shock for the players. I'm kind of relying on that," Ross said. "I want to be different. As much as Joe brought to the table and all that I respect that he's done — I will keep a lot of the music on, I like the vibe that he created. I will mix up some things early on. There will be a little bit more structure."

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Yu Darvish thinks Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title

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USA Today

Yu Darvish thinks Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title

The Astros' sign-stealing scandal is personal for a lot of players, though it probably hits a little differently for Yu Darvish. 

Darvish was a member of the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers team that Houston beat in the World Series. Darvish didn't have his best performance in the series and when asked about the scandal, the Cubs' pitcher didn't hold back:

It's a weird feeling. Like, in the Olympics, when a player cheats, you can't have a Gold medal, right? But they still have as World Series title. That makes me feel weird. That's it. And one more thing. With [Carlos] Correra talking about [Cody] Bellinger. I saw that yesterday. So they cheat, and I think right now that they don't have to talk. They shouldn't talk like that right now.

You can watch the video of Darvish's comments, from ESPN's Jesse Rogers, it right here.

The comments took on a life of their own, as Astros' soundbytes have been known to do over the last few weeks or so. Darvish was ready for the clapback, though, and delivered a final blow to some poor 'Stros fan who thought he could compete with Darvish on twitter dot com. 

Sign a lifetime contract, Yu. Never leave us.

Related: Bryant crushes Astros for cheating scandal: 'What a disgrace that was' 

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Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

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USA TODAY

Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

Jason Kipnis, who’s potentially the Cubs’ new second baseman but indisputably the pride of Northbrook, said there’s one major reason why his possible reunion with Wrigley Field is so exciting.

“Now I don’t have to hate the 'Go Cubs Go' song,” he quipped.

Kipnis was a late addition to the Cubs’ roster, and still not even a guaranteed one at that. After almost a decade spent being one of the Cleveland Indians’ cornerstones, Kipnis arrived in Mesa on a minor league contract, looking to win a job. Ironically, being with his hometown team is unfamiliar territory for the two-time All-Star. 

“[Leaving Cleveland] was hard at first,” he said. “You get used to the same place for 9-10 years, and I think it’s a little hard right now coming in and being the new guy and being lost and not knowing where to go. But it’ll be fun. It’s exciting. It’s kind of out of the comfort zone again, which is kind of what you want right now – to be uncomfortable. I don’t know, I’ve missed this feeling a little bit, so it’ll be good.”

It was a slow offseason for the second baseman, but the second baseman said he was weighing offers from several teams. Opportunity and organizational direction dictated most of his decision-making, but Kipnis admitted the forces around him were all, rather unsubtly, pulling him in one direction.

“They were telling me to take a deal, take a cut, whatever. Just get here,” he joked. “... It made sense, it really did. I think I didn't fully understand it until it was announced and my phone started blowing up and I realized just how many people this impacted around my life. Friends and family still live in Chicago, so it’s going to be exciting.”

The theme of renewed motivation has hung around Sloan Park like an early-morning Arizona chill, and Kipnis said part of the reason he feels the Cubs brought him in is to set a fire under some guys. He talked with Anthony Rizzo during the offseason, who talked about how the Cubs had struggled at times to put an appropriate emphasis on each of the 162 games in a regular season. That’s not a new problem in baseball, and it struck a chord with Kipnis, who himself was on plenty of talented Cleveland teams that never got over the hump. 

“They got a good core here. I’m well aware of that, they’re well aware of that, too,” he said. “I texted him and called him and asked him what happened last year, because I look at rosters, I look at St. Louis’, I look at all that, and I’m like, ‘I still would take your guys' roster.’” 

As for his direct competition, Kipnis said he hasn’t had a chance to really get to know Nico Hoerner yet, but doesn’t feel like the battle for second base has to be a contentious one by any means. At 32, Kipnis has been around long enough to understand the dynamics an aging veteran vs. a top prospect, and doesn't feel like it’s a situation where only one of them will end up benefiting. 

“I know he came up and had a pretty good success, so I think [it’s] going to be a competition, but at the same time, I’m not going to try to put him down,” he said. “I’d like to work with him, kind of teach him what I know too and hopefully both of us become better from it.”