Given the nature of the situation, I’m surprised David Ross was willing to offer any public comments so soon after being blindsided by Jed Hoyer last weekend with news of his dismissal as Cubs manager. While it wasn’t quite the same as Cal Naughton asking Ricky Bobby to be his best man, being replaced by a division rival surely twisted the knife a little bit.
Some of that hurt snuck through in an exclusive interview with Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat, Ross’s hometown paper.
“I think the thing that comes over me is that I am extremely thankful for the opportunity, to be honest,” Ross said. “There was a lot of people who worked really hard alongside me…I am really thankful for the four years I got, coming from zero coaching experience to getting the chance to manage such a great organization that has impacted my life in a great way,” he said.
“I get mad from time to time but I have a lot to be thankful for.”
That anger will surely fade with time, especially if Ross is able to move on to a new gig, but the Cubs are always going to be the one that got away. He seemed to have job security after positive public comments from both Tom Ricketts and Jed Hoyer, but the latter has since offered very pointed remarks about leaving wins on the table.
This was a matter of the Cubs pouncing on someone they believed to be the best manager on the market, but being willing to do so was an admission that their faith in Ross was anything but rock solid. Ross was diplomatic in addressing that topic, opting to avoid saying anything inflammatory.
“If my boss doesn’t think I am a good manager, then he should move on,” he said with what I imagine were clenched teeth. “I don’t fault him for that. If he doesn’t think I am the right guy, that’s his job. That’s his choice. I have my own thoughts and opinions that I will keep to myself.”
I’m sure he’d have gone into a laundry list of grievances had he been less reserved, though it’s not like airing them would make things better. Sure, more bullpen depth and an infusion of left-handed power would have helped. But stubbornness with lineups and more than one or two head-scratching strategic moves didn’t make things any better.
If Ross is back at Wrigley anytime soon, it’ll be as an opposing coach or manager. And you can go ahead and rule out a Cubs Convention appearance, though I’m willing to bet more than one person will ask ownership and/or the front office about it when the event takes place in January. Eventually, a time will come when enough water has passed under the bridge that Ross will be comfortable crossing it again, maybe for an anniversary gathering of the World Series team or something like that.
In the meantime, the Cubs are going about the business of assembling a roster for Craig Counsell to lead and Ross is getting paid to sit at home. He would obviously prefer that not be the case, but there are worse fates to grapple with. And hey, maybe he’ll end up landing a new gig really soon. I hear the Brewers are looking for a manager.