Ross plans to make most of final season

Entering 15th big league campaign, Cubs catcher focused on preparation while savoring last go-round

February 20th, 2016

MESA, Ariz. -- This year will be David Ross' 15th big league season, and it will be his last. John Lackey, reunited with Ross on the Cubs, sent a text after he signed, telling the catcher he wanted to finish strong.

"[Lackey] said, 'We're going to do this thing,'" Ross said Saturday. "I told him this is my last one, so let's give it a whirl."

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That doesn't mean the Cubs will have T-shirts saying, "Win it for Rossy."

"This isn't about me," Ross said. "There's so much good going on here. I don't think it should ever be about the backup catcher who is retiring who's a career .220 hitter or whatever I am. If it's about me, we're in trouble.

"There's none of that 'last this, last that,'" he said. "I feel I need to prepare myself so I'm not the weak link on the team. I want to be a guy who contributes to this team. I want to have the best year I possibly can to fit in with this group. That's how I'm looking at it."

A career .228 hitter, Ross will enjoy this year. On Friday night, he went to dinner with teammates Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward, and they then stopped at a sporting goods store and pretended to buy Cubs gear. Rizzo posted a photo on Twitter.

"I let the kids have some fun," Ross said, laughing.

Even if he isn't going to collect bits of dirt at each big league ballpark, Ross, 38, will make the most of his final season. He's writing a journal -- don't call it a diary -- and so far, there are no book plans. Ross was concerned about his spelling, especially after helping his daughter with her third-grade school work.

"I'm going to really take in different cities," he said. "I kind of hibernate when we go on the road. I may go out and see something in New York or wherever -- just do a little more and take some things in and really enjoy the guys."

He already has a World Series ring from 2013 with the Red Sox. Ross wouldn't mind finishing his career with another one.

"I didn't come into this going, 'This is my last year and I want to do all this,'" Ross said. "It's about that time for me to do whatever it is I need to do the rest of my life and start a new chapter. I really just want to get myself ready to play and help this team win and take in some more things, knowing it's the last one. I want to take in the moments a little more and enjoy the highlights of the season and the guys."

Why retire now?

"There's a number of reasons -- there's so many reasons why," Ross said. "It's time. I don't want to be that guy who stays at the party too long. It's time to get kicked out of the party."