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Here's the bad news for Cubs fans: David Ross almost assuredly won't be the Cubs bench coach in 2019.
Here's the good news for Cubs fans looking to get their Grandpa Rossy fix: They can still catch him on ESPN throughout the baseball season.
ESPN announced a multi-year extension with Ross Tuesday morning to retain the popular former catcher as an MLB analyst calling the weeknight games and showing up on Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter, among other shows.
The contract extension probably eliminates the Cubs' chances of luring Ross into a role as Joe Maddon's new bench coach in 2019. But the biggest factor for Ross has always been the time away from family, as jumping back into the dugout in a coaching capacity is extremely time-consuming and would take a huge committment from Ross to be away from his role as a dad and husband.
The Cubs still retain Ross as a special assistant in Theo Epstein's front office and Epstein admitted last month the team is pushing for Ross to be around the team more in 2019, as his presence has a profound effect on all the young players that still look up to him.
"I think his mere presence is helpful," Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said last week. "Those guys trust him. The timing of David Ross being on this team was perfect in that those guys were 21 and 22, so he had such an influence on those guys. I still think they look up to him, so when he's around, they'll gravitate towards him and talk to him. We couldn't hire anyone from the outside that could have that kind of influence. I think it's more about that.
"There's probably some natural reaction when he's around where it feels like it did in '15 and '16 a little bit. But yeah, having him around is really valuable and I think he will have a big impact."
Ross' extension with ESPN doesn't completely rule out any chance of him coaching — or managing — for the length of the deal (which was not released), as people jump from the TV booth to the field often for managerial/coaching gigs across all American sports. But the extension certainly creates another wrinkle in the situation.
Earlier on Get Up, ESPN's morning talk show, TV analyst and ex-player Ryan Clark fired off this take about the Packers' head coaching search:
“If you’re Green Bay right now, you sell the farm. You sell the farm. You send everybody to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and you try to get Nick Saban to leave Alabama and become the coach. When you look at quarterback-coach relationships — Sean Payton and Drew Brees, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady — there is mutual respect and accountability there."
It's kind of a reckless heat check of punditry, but some of this stands to reason. Saban's got nothing to prove at Alabama anymore. His disastrous tenure in Miami can't sit well with him. It's Aaron Rodgers.
Rumors of Saban's NFL return pop up every year, so until there's some more substance, it's not even really a rumor yet. But wouldn't that be something!