Baseball field at Florida State connects Cubs’ David Ross and White Sox’ Pedro Grifol

Notes: Cubs react to Adbert Alzolay’s 10th save of the season.

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Chicago Cubs David Ross

The Cubs’ David Ross is managing across the field from the White Sox’ Pedro Grifol this week.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The history between Cubs manager David Ross and White Sox manager Pedro Grifol can be traced back decades to Florida State’s baseball field in Tallahassee.

“My high school was right on the campus, and so I used to walk over there and meet my dad,” Ross said Wednesday in the Guaranteed Rate Field visitors’ dugout. “He’d plop me down in front of home plate, and I’d watch Pedro catch.”

Now, Ross and Grifol are managing from opposite dugouts. But back then, Grifol was a member of those 1989 and 1991 Seminoles teams that made it to the College World Series. And Ross was a local kid with a future in baseball ahead of him.

Ross said his dad, a butcher, sold hot dog and hamburger meats to the FSU concessions stands and his mom was head of ticket sales.

“So I grew up around the campus of Florida State,” he said.

Ross said he still hasn’t told Grifol the stories of watching him play in college. But he thinks he knows, thanks to Eduardo Perez, one of Grifol’s FSU teammates.

Ross said he did tell Perez, in spring training when a young Ross was with the Dodgers and Perez was with the Cardinals, that he was a big fan and had grown up watching Perez play.

“Me and Eduardo still joke about that,” Ross said. “He said he felt really old for the first time, getting in the [batter’s] box in a spring training game, when a kid watched him play in Tallahassee.”

Both Perez and Grifol are set to be inducted into Florida State’s Athletics Hall of Fame this year.

“Congrats to both those guys,” Ross said.

Alzolay reaches double digits

Cubs reliever Adbert Alzolay earned his 10th save of the season in the Cubs’ 7-3 victory Tuesday against the White Sox. He entered the game with two runners on base and struck out the side.

“Last night was really impressive how dominant he was,” Ross said Wednesday afternoon. “It just feels like he’s getting more and more comfortable in that. And when you see the emotion, you realize how intense the moment is, how he continues to grow and handle that.”

Alzolay claiming the closer role, in his first full season as a reliever — and Mark Leiter Jr. and Julian Merryweather owning the seventh and eighth innings — has made Ross’ job more straightforward. When the bullpen was struggling earlier in the year, Ross was having to piece together the late innings by relying on matchups.

“He’s been a guy that we’ve been able to rely on in any role all year,” catcher Tucker Barnhart said of Alzolay in a conversation with the Sun-Times. “And you know what you’re going to get.”

Now, Alzolay’s just doing it in the ninth inning of close games.


“When I’m running [Cody Bellinger] in a different spot every inning, it reminds me a lot of Kris Bryant when I was putting him in different areas — put him in the outfield some, trying to maximize our lineup up with the versatility of some really good athletes.” — Ross on Bellinger’s versatility at first base and center field.

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