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Kapos: David Ross on White House visits and his Bran new thing

Former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross shares breakfast with Chicagoans, introducing them to new Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch Apple Strawberry cereal.

Former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross shares breakfast with Chicagoans, introducing them to new Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch Apple Strawberry cereal. | AP Images

Recently retired Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross weighed in on whether New England Patriots players should accept a White House invitation to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. Some players are opting out.

“It’s an individual’s call. I don’t view it as supporting a president,” says Ross, who shook hands with President Barack Obama after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 and after the Cubs won last year. “It’s a cool thing to be an American and to go to the White House and meet the president, whoever he may be and whether you like or dislike his view.”

Since wrapping up his playing career, Ross has taken on a new role with the Cubs as a special assistant. He’s also been hired as a Major League Baseball analyst for ESPN and has signed a marketing deal with Kellogg’s.

I caught up with him at 6 a.m. one day last week before he passed out Raisin Bran Crunch Apple Strawberry to passersby in Lake View.

“I like seeing how surprised they are,” Ross says about people recognizing him.

He gets serious talking about the Cubs’ front office. “There’s a lot more that goes into it, especially in terms of studying data. Decisions are made after analyzing tons of information. I’m the rookie,” he says. “I’m trying to learn and put my best foot forward. I don’t want to go in and be the veteran guy (that) I was on the field. I want to step back and listen and learn.”

He acknowledges the challenges too. “It’s all new. But it’s easy to listen. I have input and ideas that are important to me. I’ll speak up when I feel passionate about something.”

Ross is also working to master his role as TV analyst. He expects to get guidance from Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney and Karl Ravech.

“I look at it as going into the locker room and asking the right questions,” he says.

The partnership with Kellogg’s has been his easiest post-baseball business decision. “It’s one of the favorites in the Ross house,” he says of the cereal. “It was simple to be part of that.”

Auctioning nautical kitsch

a metal diving helmet is among the items being auctioned by Butch McGuire's

Butch McGuire’s, the storied bar on Division Street, is auctioning off some of its nautical collectibles. | Provided photo

Butch McGuire’s, the storied bar on Division Street, is auctioning off some of its nautical collectibles.

“My father was a huge collector of nautical antiques. We’d rotate it throughout the bar but the collection was so big, we couldn’t show it all,” said Bobby McGuire, whose late father is the bar’s namesake.

The younger McGuire and his siblings have been mulling for years what to do with the vast collection.

On March 4, numerous pieces of the collection will go up for auction at John Toomey Gallery in Oak Park. Among the collectibles: fog horns, brass diving helmets, artwork by LeRoy Neiman and Bill Olendorf and signs, furniture and, even, a custom-made mahogany casket. Some of the auction proceeds will go to charity and the rest will be invested in the bar.

Don’t worry, says McGuire, there’s still plenty of nautical kitsch for patrons to enjoy — and the garish holiday decor isn’t going anywhere either.

Taking his own chance on music

It’s not easy stepping out of an older brother’s shadow — especially when your brother is Chance the Rapper.

But Taylor Bennett is building his own identity as a hip-hop artist. This week, he’s releasing a follow-up to his 2015 “Broad Shoulders” album.

Taylor Bennett

Musician Taylor Bennett | Provided photo

“It’s my best work in terms of musical writing and production. We’ve been working on it nonstop,” Bennett says of the as-yet-to-be-named EP. Singles include “New York Nights” and “Grown Up Fairy Tales,” the latter of which also features his brother.

Bennett’s new material will be showcased Feb. 24 at the Out in the Open Sleep In that supports homeless youth. He’ll also be featured on JBTV, the Chicago music television show that gave early exposure to Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day and other alternative music groups.

Bennett got his start on the stage performing poetry with Young Chicago Authors. Music followed, and he’s since sold out the Metro and Reggie’s Music Joint — close to Urban Prep High School, the charter school he attended.

The 21-year-old looks like his brother and even on this day, as he battled a cold, Bennett sounds like Chance. “People say we sound alike. So I tried to talk about different things and different flows,” Bennett says. “One day my dad said, ‘Look, you’re going to sound like your brother because he’s your brother. Just focus on making the best music you can possibly make.’ So that’s what I’m doing.”

The new EP showcases his passion for lyrics as well as production. “I want people to listen to it on two different levels,” he says.

“Music has always been part of my life,” Bennett adds. “One reason I’ve decided to pursue music is because I don’t want to wake up at 38 and say ‘What if?'”

Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.