In news that was first broken, to me at least, by ESPN’s Jesse Rodgers, Chicago’s favorite backup catcher will be joining the Four-Letter as a baseball analyst.
David Ross is now a colleague. He's joining ESPN as an analyst
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) January 30, 2017
Grandpa Rossy confirmed the news shortly thereafter:
— David Ross (@D_Ross3) January 30, 2017
“I’m excited to dive right in and start talking baseball with my new colleagues at ESPN,” Ross said in the statement announcing his hiring. “It truly is the worldwide leader in sports and I’m grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible team. We’re going to have a lot of fun this season.”
“David is a proven leader with a natural combination of charisma, candor and humor which lends itself well to a media career,” explained Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer for the Worldwide Leader. “The expertise he’s amassed during his memorable career, which includes the unique experience of winning World Series championships with two iconic franchises, will greatly benefit our audience.”
Though he played only two of his 15 MLB seasons in Chicago, Ross will likely be best remembered for his Cubs tenure. I suppose that could be recency bias, but the ol’ graybeard quickly became a cult hero as he mentored his young teammates and capped his career with a home run in his last official at-bat during Game 7 of the World Series. Not a bad way to go out, huh?
Elsewhere on the life after retirement front, it was announced just before the opening of Cubs Convention that Ross would remain with the organization in the role of special assistant to baseball operations. That’s kind of an amorphous title, but the plan is for him to help out with scouting, development, and front office work. He’ll surely be at Spring Training as well. Basically, this gives the old man the opportunity to remain close to the team and the game while still having the flexibility to spend plenty of time with his young family.
It’s not clear yet exactly what Ross’s ESPN role will entail, though I’m guessing he’ll be eased in with some studio work from time to time. Given his easygoing nature and the candor and humor Markman referenced, I can see Ross quickly becoming a bigger presence as the season wears on. Who knows, maybe he’ll even get some time in the booth. I’m very much looking forward to this.
If I’m being totally honest, though, I don’t want him to be so good at the TV gig that he opts for that over wearing a uniform. Which is to say that I’ve still got the notion that he’d make a great understudy to Joe Maddon. Hey, a boy can dream.