blue ugg slippers and slippers from Tom Brady
Even in the final game of Ross career, Ortiz was tangentially relevant. Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward gave a rain delay speech during Game 7 of the World Series, a reminder for Ross of Ortiz dugout speech in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series.
Here Ross on that and a lot more, with paraphrased questions from the Herald:
“For me, it was more about the opportunities and the doors that opened for me after my playing career. It something I enjoyed, the little bit I did it. My time when I was in Boston, I did some stuff for them . I enjoyed it while I was there but I wanted to see what (the opportunities) looked like after I was done playing, and talked to a couple of the networks and just came to ESPN (who) really stepped up, and I excited man.
“It kind of cool if you get to go to work for this kind of prestigious company, and they want you and they put your name on that huge logo that is ESPN. . I got a lot to learn. I feel like I the rookie again. I been the veteran for a while, and now I back to a rookie.”
Do you see this as a second career? Does it help you scratch the itch to come back and play?
“I don know. I think that what I want to see. That what I hoping for. I think that something, that that why I doing this, and seeing what avenue (there is). Everybody talks about, be good at this, I be good at that. Well, I like to get my foot in the waters of a lot of different things, and see what I enjoy, see what my heart loves to do.
“(I be) in the baseball realm as well. . I be learning with the Cubs and being a part of that. I think this helps me. I been so busy, that I haven really had that itch to get back or to compete. I know once spring training starts, I sure that feeling will come around. But this is something that, so far I been so busy and this is an opportunity I been looking forward to. it allows me to, one, travel around and two, still kind of live a similar life of kind of just being connected with the game.”
When you look back, where do the Red Sox fit in your baseball identity? Are you more of a Cub?
“I don know, I never looked at that. That a good question. You know, I feel like I finished the thing with the Cubs, and the way it went off, and being carried off the field by my teammates and taking, helping be a part of an organization that (hadn won in) 108 years kind of like the team in Boston it something that special to me, and it probably the, I guess, the logo my heart wears.
“But I feel like they so connected, because I learned what winning looked like, I learned from guys like Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and that organization at how they put winning first and put the players first. And how, what a true winning organization looks like.
“So I took a lot of the mentoring things I used in my time with the Cubs, all (of that) came from either Atlanta or Boston. . It hard to say I feel one or the other. This is what freshest on my mind. The city of Chicago embraced me like no other city I played for, so that great and I still going to be working kind of behind the scenes a little bit with Chicago and learning some stuff from (the) Hall of Famer that going to be, (team president) Theo Epstein. So, trying to learn from those guys and I sure they tell you the same thing, about it all related. It interconnected because the lessons you learn you carry to the next place.”
What the Cubs gig?
“It a special assistant thing. . Really it just an ability for me to learn. It really, I don think I be making a whole lot of decisions or I don know how much my input will be. But really, I want to just see what behind the scenes. It actually will help my ESPN career and see what these guys (do) and how they talk. What important to them and putting together a team and free agency and how all that works. I feel like those guys are super important to our relationships are super important to one another, and I kind of want to learn from them. I the rookie in that room, too. Trying to again put my foot in every little bit of water I can.”
You were always known in the baseball world, but after the 2013 World Series and pairing up with Jon Lester, it seems like you ascended to a different level of notoriety. Was Boston the springboard?
“It crazy. Yeah, I mean for sure. It took off, and for me, my career really turned around in Atlanta, where I backed up Brian (McCann) and was a a part of that culture and Bobby Cox, I got to see and learn a lot from him, and that group there was a special group. And being with Eric Hinske, who had won two championships, one with Boston and one with the Yankees, talking to him and getting close to him, and then going to Boston and winning with that group there with Johnny (Gomes) and Nap (Mike Napoli), and seeing what that looks like and a winning team and how they talk and how they act, and the so called formula for winning with my time in Boston, and taking that to Chicago.
“Those guys embraced me with such a young group in Chicago, embraced me and listened to me and allowed me to, you know, just kind of impart a little bit of wisdom I had from being around winning. And obviously, Jon (Lester) carries a ton of weight when he speaks and Lack (John Lackey) coming over this year and being a part of that.
“It one of those things that, yeah, it has gotten crazy. I think that has to do with the 108. The 108 year thing, everybody on that team is famous. I guess even a back up catcher gets a little love.”
How did the White House visit with the Cubs compare to the one with the Red Sox?
“Man, this time, not to knock last time: last time we were in the middle of the season, we did it on an off day, felt rushed. I think he (President Barack Obama) was super busy, really I mean I don want to take away from his schedule, like you know, you could tell. It the President of the United States. He super busy. I mean, we had a good time. My favorite time of the last visit was the Walter Reed (Army Medical Center visit). That was really cool. The White House thing felt just a little rushed. This time, they only had four days left in office and they were kind of, they were packing up their offices, it was very very laid back. (Obama) was able to visit. Michelle (Obama) was there. She a Cubs fan. She never does the team (celebration) stuff, she said, so she hung out with us. He mentioned my name in his peech, that made my jaw drop.”
He didn mention you in 2013?
“No, I think he was more focused on Big Papi and the star players. (He said) I think me and him are going out on top. We were on the retirement tour, the year long retirement tour. A little bit funner for me. I think it had more to do with how he was about to be finished, he only had four days left. So he was a lot more relaxed and probably not as much on his plate.”
Did you technically file retirement papers?
“I did not. I did not. Somebody, I asked my agent that, if I need to do that, and he said you don have to do that. So I haven looked into it anymore. I don know what that means, but I definitely retired. I work out in my gym and everybody asking if i making a comeback and my line to em is, they pay a lot of money, you got to be always be ready. But I got I busier now than I was when I was playing.”
Did you get any offers this winter? Did people try to lure you back?
“No, no no no. No. No offers. I think everybody knew. One, I don know if anybody wanted me but I hope I made it clear that I was done. Yeah, it just, when you get carried off the field by your teammates after breaking a 108 year drought from winning, you can come back after that.”
You texted with David Ortiz during the playoffs. Any word from him?
“He was there (in the World Series) getting the Hank Aaron award, him and Kris Bryant. And he came up, he went over and gave a big hug, gave me a big hug and just said, man, you know, make sure these guys know how important this is. Lead this group. Just you know, that Jason Heyward moment in the weight room reminded me of Big Papi in the dugout, his speech. This is Big Papi all over again.
“I texted him here and there about different things, but nothing about baseball or playing. More about his charity event, something else he had going on where he was going to be where I might be at or something. But nothing other than that.”