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Oct. 8 David Ross pregame interview

October 8, 2016

Q. I know you talked about this a lot, but what do you think about Joe Maddon's style allows so many players to play to the best of their ability?DAVID ROSS: It's a freedom. It's a freedom of be yourself, constantly teaching, which is kind of fun as a veteran

Q. I know you talked about this a lot, but what do you think about Joe Maddon's style allows so many players to play to the best of their ability?

DAVID ROSS: It's a freedom. It's a freedom of be yourself, constantly teaching, which is kind of fun as a veteran guy to go back to some of the basics. And he really breaks things down in spring training. We did -- last two years that I've been here we have done relay drills with him, which is like Little League stuff where you got like four guys in a line, and I think we put like 20 bucks on the line and everybody's seeing who can finish fastest. Create a little competition. He makes it fun. He lets guys, their athleticism come out. Obviously you guys have seen the athleticism that's on this team, myself exempt from that, but there's a power in letting the guys be free and play kind of without any restraints and thinking things. He wants you to kind of just play the game. Almost like in Little League. When you make mistakes, which we have done all year, you learn from them, try to teach and move on. These guys continue to grow, the people that follow this team for two years, there's a continual growth and that stems from Joe.

Q. (No microphone.)

DAVID ROSS: I don't play much either. I don't play much either.

Q. That's the question. Why do you think that is and is it, I don't know, is it embarrassing for you how do you --

DAVID ROSS: No, I appreciate the love and support. There's a lot of love I feel. I don't know why, that's something you can, I don't know, ask my teammates or the fans, but I don't know, try to be myself. I think a lot of it stems from the nice things my teammates have said about me all year and the way they treated me the last two years in Spring Training and giving me a lot of respect. And to you guys talking about how great I am, which is complete BS. But I think a lot of it stems from that. Guys that are the face of this franchise guys like Jon Lester, who we know well, and KB and Riz, and the future stars and Addie and all those guys seem to say nice things about me. I don't know, they keep me young and I like hanging around them. And this city's embraced me for whatever reason and a lot of nice things were written about me early and maybe people just pay attention a little more after Spring Training with all the retirement stuff or whatever. Grandpa Rossy. The Instagram thing got a little crazy. Since that Grandpa Rossy Instagram thing took place it's been a lot crazier for me personally, just out and about in public, but you know, but I really appreciate it. It's a lot of love and I promise you, I don't deserve even half of it.

Q. How quickly will you know what Samardzija is out there tonight and what did you guys do so well or was it what he didn't do well the last time he pitched here at Wrigley Field and got that 47 pitch inning.

DAVID ROSS: I think we just continue to grind the same as last night. Jonny was on, Cueto was on last night and pitched really well, so was Lester. But I think we just continued to grind at-bats and he had a bad inning and the guys made him pay for it. It's just kind of been our plan all year. The guys are up there with a plan and approach and for such young hitters they do a really good job of staying in their approach and giving what the -- taking what the pitcher gives you.

So, Jeff's a really good pitcher and there's a reason why he got all that money in the off season. I know he's got a tremendous, what am I trying to say, tremendous heart when he steps out on the mound. He's an intense competitor. The guy's been an elite competitor his entire life. Following him, watching him come up with Notre Dame and obviously with the Cubs. So we definitely got our work cut out for us, but I know our guys are going to approach it like every other game and go out there and try do what they do.

Q. Javy gave you credit for sort of taking him under his wing a little bit, showing him the ropes when things go wrong for him, is there an anecdote that displays that, is it sometimes when he gets overly aggressive you reign him in, is there something you can recall?

DAVID ROSS: Yeah, I try not to be that guy, that veteran guy that always is saying this or that. Nobody wants to hear that all the time. I try to save it for important moments.

A funny moment last night when Hunter Pence slipped out of the box and got that ground ball and he kind of lobbed it to first and it was bang, bang. I looked at him like, you know, get your stuff together, what are you doing? And he gave me a "my bad" at second. I guess he didn't have a good grip on the ball. He came and explained it to me, I said, hey, man, these guys are going to get down the line. This team knows how to win. They're going to play just like we do, they're going to get down the line, they're going to bust it. Doesn't matter if it's a soft hit ground ball, they're not going to give up. Good teams don't give up. And they're not going to do that.

So it's little things like that, explaining the situation. And he knew. And again, Javy is such a great baseball guy that sometimes you just want to explain that maybe 110 percent isn't good on that in this situation. We're down three. I don't need you to try to take the extra base right now. Little things like that is just teaching the game and that's what I try to explain these things without being the old grumpy guy who always complains to these guys. And I guess I'm doing it okay because they have said some nice things luckily, because I'm not always real nice about it.

Q. After playing with Heyward in both Atlanta and Chicago, can you describe what he's like as a teammate and maybe the impact that he makes that we can't see from the outside?

DAVID ROSS: He's the best. He's the best. In our group text today he sent out, got a Chick-fil-A for the boys coming in at 2:30. J-Hey does all the little things that make the biggest impact for me. This guy is maybe one of the most professional guys I've ever been around. I think he brings a lot to this young group. When I was with him in Atlanta and he was the guy that was going to save the franchise and the next Chipper with Chipper on his way out and the next guy in Atlanta and all those expectations and he came in and had a phenomenal rookie season. You don't see that a whole lot. It's usually the other way around, guys with big hype.

And then I compared KB a lot last year with the same, same expectations coming in, and living up to the hype. That's rarely the case in the time that I've been in the game.

So, J-Hey, he studies the game, he comes and talks pitch calling with me, which is really cool. Moving with the pitches. The days I don't play it's funny, a guy hit a couple foul balls over to right and J-Hey just keeps creeping over to the right field line. He knows the game. He's reading swings. Best base runner -- maybe one of the best base runners I've ever been around as far as fun to watch. He's been my favorite guy. I said this in Atlanta, he's my favorite guy to watch run the bases, it's three, four strides and I feel like he's at the next base. He's a powerful runner. I love him professionally at bat. Just about every time in the box he's got a game plan trying to execute that game plan. So I can't say enough about Jason Heyward, this guy's amazing.

Q. Hendricks had his moments last year, but this year he's taken the baseball world by storm. What's been the biggest difference?

DAVID ROSS: I think he got out of his comfort zone a little bit. Last year he was really two dimensional with the sinker and change-up and just an occasional curveball. He's throwing his four-seam more, it's got a little cut action to it. I haven't caught him that much. And I knew coming in last year that he was better than he pitched. I think everybody was saying that. He had pitched two years ago much better than he did last year. And still he's very, very consistent for us in how he went about his business. I think there was a growth for him pitching in more. Change-ups to both sides, the breaking ball was being used more. Just knowing what he wants to do and I think he's more comfortable in his mechanics and in himself. So I think there's a lot involved in that, but I think it's just getting outside of his comfort zone a little bit and having success is always -- that always helps out.

Q. When you signed here or the last couple years you always joke about the backup catcher getting so much attention. When you signed here, what did you honestly expect this experience to be like and has it gone way off script for you?

DAVID ROSS: It's gone way off script. I think signing here, this was one of my favorite places to play as a visiting player. As a visiting player I loved the city and Wrigley Field. Coming from a place that was a lot of baseball history before I came here, I loved that. I loved that market. I loved the big market. And playing against this group in 2014 I saw how much talent there was. They came into Boston and swept us. And Jake Arrieta almost no-hit us and we were a really good lineup, so I knew that if they signed Jonny they had two number ones, and Jake, and so you're like, well, two aces in that kind of lineup, Jon was coming here, comfort, I knew Theo from Boston. There's a lots of comfort there.

But being the backup and coming here and just trying to fit in. Everywhere I've been, I've been most places two years and then out, and it's you just try to go in with a clean slate and be yourself and you have to prove your worth everywhere you go and figure out how you're going to contribute. Last year I didn't have a great year offensively and wanted to do better this year and have done that. So I'm happy about that and proud about that. But I'm more proud about the group of guys that we have and the way they compete.

Q. Had you not announced your retirement so early and so much attention been paid to that, given the impact and success you have had do you think you would be leaning that way still and is it final?

DAVID ROSS: Yeah, I mean it's 99.9 percent. Something would have to be crazy for me to come back. It's more family based. I jokingly say a lot, you know, I like money, you know, I say that a lot joking around. But I tell Theo and Jed the qualifying offer I'm not going to turn it down, but I doubt they're going to give that to me. It's more family based. My kids are getting -- I got a chance to go home a couple times and see my son play one baseball game, it was real really cool. My daughter's getting into volleyball. I got a one year old. I got my wife at home with two kids in school and one that's just started to walk. So I mean, she's ready for me to be home.

And I kind of feel like I've lived my dream. I gotten to live this life-style for way longer than I ever thought or deserved to live it and I've gotten to do a lot of fun things and been very successful for the skill-set I have and what I bring to the table. I feel like I've had a very long Major League career and have done things that I never thought I would be able to do, so at some point you got to be unselfish, right? Some point if you want to -- if being a dad is important to you and being a father and a husband and those things are important to you and you want to influence your kids and teach them right from wrong, it's hard to be gone for six, seven months and commit your life to baseball, because that's what this is. If you want to be good at baseball you got to commit your life to it. So that's a tough balance off the field when your kids are in school full-time. So, those are the things. Plane flights get expensive after awhile.

Q. The Giants have scored 10 runs in five games here and they're batting something like .106. Aside from the fact that you guys have pitched really well against them is there any explanation for that that you can point to?

DAVID ROSS: No, I mean, I think pitching is the key. I think pitching and defense, we got really good defense and our pitchers are some of the best in the game. So, that's going to make it tough on any team. And the unknown. I mean, you know, the more you face pitchers as hitters the more you understand what they're doing or trying to do to you and how their balls move. And so you don't -- when your division teams may score more runs but there's not a whole lot of teams that come in here and just bang us around here. It's a really great pitching staff and we play great defense.

And we don't take that lineup lightly either. I said this a million times, there's a lot of rings over there in that clubhouse. They know how to win. They know what they're trying to do. They're going to compete and they're going to compete right up until the end they're never going to quit. So, I don't have an explanation other than our pitchers are really good. And I call a great game anyway.


Q. Jake Arrieta, what are the differences you've seen in him since his run of being so consistently dominating kind of petered out and what do you expect from him against Bumgarner in San Francisco?

DAVID ROSS: I'm looking forward to that matchup. I think everybody is. I think it's getting a lot of attention because Bum's so good and Jake's the reining Cy Young Award winner. I think that he just got out -- Jake came down a little bit, got a little out of whack there in the middle with his fastball command. When that happens on any pitcher, first thing I talk about when Jon has a bad outing, it's 90 percent of the time it's fastball command. So, that's a key for pitchers. And when you lose that rhythm and that release point, it's tough to get back. Especially a guy like him who throws across his body at such a funky angle. So I've seen him be a lot better this last month for the most part. He may have a bad inning here or there, but he's getting back to that consistent guy that we rely on. And he's another guy, too, that I'll take him any day of the week. I know his character, I know what he's thinking and what kind of guts he has. And I really like our chances when he's on the mound. So, I think everybody's looking forward to that. But I don't want to look past this one today. I'm looking forward -- Kyle's really good, too. I'm looking forward to watching Kyle pitch tonight.

Q. From listening here to what you're saying, you're kind of almost coaching on the field or in the dugout and Joe says that you would make an excellent manager. Have you thought more about doing that post-career or does that fly in the face of the whole family and travel and all that?

DAVID ROSS: It goes back to, first of all, I think if anybody gives you the opportunity to manage a Major League team, that's a huge compliment, right? I mean, that says a lot. It's hard to comment. Everybody always wants to know about post baseball and it's hard to comment on that when you don't have any job offers. I got one job to do right now and I'm going to do that to the best of my ability.

The managing thing, you know, I don't know, I think that it gets overlooked. Everybody thinks it's easy from either the dugout or the stands or even the press box. I think managing looks really easy until you're the one making the decisions and knowing the ins and outs of all the data that's in the game now and knowing your players and knowing the speed of the game and what it's like to get a bullpen guy up. I've never had to get a bullpen guy up five hitters in advance. I'm catching them like, man, this would be a good time for Travis Wood to be in, and I look down and he's up warming up in the bullpen. So I'm like, okay, good. So those things I think are learned as you're maybe put in those positions a little more.

But again, that goes back to living this life-style. If I really wanted to live this life-style right away I probably could make decent amount of money, maybe more than a manager, and have less time commitment, right, if it's all about time. So hopefully I can find a balance. I think I've learned way too much in baseball to go home and do nothing or not to give back, right. I feel like that's part of what I'm doing now is giving back some of the mistakes that I've made over my career and trying to let these guys not make those same mistakes or when they make them tell them right away a better way to go about it so they don't have to go through a 15-year career of a lot of failure.

So, again, it's all about talking to the family and making decisions. I think each decision's unique and I'm so focused on this team and winning right now that it's hard to even go there. I have some statements because of the question gets asked a lot, but I really -- I really want to just enjoy this postseason.