Former Cubs catcher David Ross opened up about his old reputation in the league and list team players in the the Players’ Tribune on Wednesday,
Ross reminisced on a conversation he had in 2008 with then Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein.
“He wanted me to know that I had a … reputation,” Ross wrote. “I’m trying to remember his exact words, but basically, he said that I was known as a guy who didn’t understand or didn’t want to accept his role — a role that was basically that of a backup or role player. That I was selfish. A bad teammate.”
The reputation might surprise some Cubs fans, who viewed “Grandpa Ross” as the lovable veteran catcher. It surprised Ross at the time when Epstein told him that.
After that conversation, Ross changed his behavior and became leader in the clubhouse.
Ross, who was a “glue guy” for the Cubs in 2016, named his list of “glue guys,” or players who are unselfish, good teammates and “sort of keeps everything together” in the clubhouse. And although he only listed eight, Ross notes that there’s many more in the league.
With every player he names, Ross included some sort of reasoning as to why the player made his list.
For former Cubs leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler, Ross wrote about how his former teammate set the tone for every game and kept the team amped up.
“He plays hard and prepares well, but with Dexter, it’s really just his presence that lifts a team up. He’s never dragging. And if you’re dragging, he has energy to spare,” Ross wrote. “His smile is infectious, and every day it feels like he’s just happy that he gets to play baseball — and he’s like that for 162 games.”
Giants right fielder Hunter Pence is almost the exact opposite of Fowler, according to Ross. While Fowler reminds his teammates that baseball is meant to be fun, Pence means business when he steps on the diamond, and does a good job motivating his teammates, Ross wrote.
“I had some interactions with him in the batter’s box, and he’s not chatty or laid back like you might think. He’s ultra-focused. He’ll look back at me like, ‘Hey, how you doin’?’ And that’s it. He locks in,” Ross said. “And he seems to bring that work ethic and intensity to everything he does.
“I’ve seen him out on the field before a game doing lunge-squats with 80-pound dumbbells — I’m talking at like four o’clock before a night game. And I’m watching him like, ‘What the heck is this animal doing?'”
Here’s his “glue guys” list:
- Adrian Beltre, third baseman for the Texas Rangers
- Justin Turner, third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Brian McCann, catcher for the Houston Astros
- Dexter Fowler, centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals
- Yadier Molina, catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals
- Dustin Pedroia, second baseman for the Boston Red Sox
- Hunter Pence, right fielder for the San Francisco Giants
- Carlos Beltran, outfielder for the Houston Astros
You can read the full Player’s Tribune article here.
Follow me on Twitter: @madkenney