Ross, Dempster supply laughs at Convention
CHICAGO -- The bender that Theo Epstein and the rest of the Cubs organization and fans went on following the 2016 World Series championship hasn't stopped, and it continued on Friday night on the first day of Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Hotel during "Late Night With Ryan Dempster."
The third annual late night-themed talk show hosted by Dempster, a former Cub and current special advisor, featured Dempster's wit, creative video commercials and interviews with players still basking in their World Series glory.
David Ross, who it was announced earlier in the day had accepted a role with the club as a special advisor, said the storybook ending to his career and season-long farewell left him with no choice but to retire.
"Yeah, I was like, maybe I'll come back, talking to [general manager Jed Hoyer] about a qualifying offer," Ross said. "Then they have to go win me the World Series and carry me off the field on their shoulders and I'm like, 'There goes $17.2 [million].'"
Ross and the rest of the Cubs have received an outpouring of well wishes and thanks from fans since winning the championship.
Joked Ross: "I've played the humble card, and I'm sick of it. You're welcome."
In fact, Ross handed out the following "You're Welcome" notes on stage:
• "You're welcome, Jonathan Lester, for making sure no one steals second base, even though you can't throw to first."
• "You're welcome, Joe Maddon, for baby-sitting the team so you had time to come up with these T-shirt ideas."
• "You're welcome, Anthony Rizzo, for being your baseball dad and for tipping that ball to you in Game 5 of the World Series so it looked like you made a great play."
• "You're welcome, Theo Epstein, for coming to Chicago instead of San Diego, therefore making sure you get into the Hall of Fame."
• "You're welcome, Jason Heyward, for not ordering room service in my free suite."
• "You're welcome, Chicago, for breaking a 108-year curse. No more goats, black cats. Oh, yeah, and for the giant ring you're about to get."
Hoyer and Epstein, who worked together for years in Boston, played a version of "The Newlywed Game." Epstein went 1-for-3 on questions about Hoyer, with the lone correct answer coming when he named Hoyer's worst boss -- Epstein. Hoyer went 3-for-3 on Epstein.
"You don't know me at all," Hoyer said.
Maddon, who coined "embrace the target" for the 2016 team's motto, also revealed the motto for this year's team: Uncomfortable.
"I think the message to the boys this year is, I want them to be uncomfortable," Maddon said. "Just like last year, embrace the target. The more comfortable we get ... If you think we're really hot, it's not going to happen again. We have to be uncomfortable knowing that folks are going to come after us even harder than they did last year."