Stark: Whether it’s a bad idea for David Ross to manage his friends

From SABR member Jayson Stark at The Athletic on February 27, 2020:

He has been their sage old wisdom-dropping teammate. He has been their coffee-juggling intern. He has been their favorite good-natured Grandpa.

And being the astute observer of humankind that he is, David Ross has noticed that normally, none of those distinctive life experiences tend to lead a guy to a big-league manager’s office, particularly an office that sits just a few yards away from the clubhouse where he once toiled as America’s most beloved backup catcher. Seriously, has anyone else ever gone from Bryzzo Corp. intern to manager practically overnight?

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” says the new manager of those Chicago Cubs, his ever-present laugh ringing through the team’s spring-training complex. “I don’t think that’s how the usual progression works.”

Right. So take that, Eddie Vedder! But here’s the part that really makes the hiring of Grandpa Rossy as manager of the post-Joe-Maddon-era Cubs so unusual:

To Anthony Rizzo, to Kris Bryant, to Jon Lester and so many of the players who occupy this clubhouse, Ross was more than just their former teammate. He was their friend — in fact, one of their closest friends. And if you look back over the modern history of baseball, you know what you’ll almost never find?

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Originally published: February 28, 2020. Last Updated: February 28, 2020.