If David Ross defying the ages at 39 is considered old then I’m ancient. If he were a mere mortal then he’d be a baby but this is baseball and in the game of baseball when a catcher snags a ball after running close to the batter’s circle and then whips it to second base to get the guy out at second base, well that’s just immortal.
“It’s just one of those things that it just kind of happened,” he said of the play and his motivation. “Pitcher Neil Ramirez is out there — these guys are trying to make the team. I want to test myself. I was nervous going into the game. I want to play well. Like I’ve said, I don’t want to be a weak link on this team. I’m one of the least talented players on this team, so I have to make sure I take my game up to another level and play hard and do special things. Did I plan on diving today in Spring Training and game one? No. It just happened.”
The bitter cruelty of this kind of play is even though the Chicago Cubs went on to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 off of a two run rocket from Addison Russell, it doesn’t count. In less than a month the Cubs will do it for real. David Ross will share his wisdom with the younger guys as they embark on a journey for that dream.
Dammit, it sounds just like a movie.
As the Cubs shake off the winter rust, Javier Baez is trying his best to fit in at a spot. He played first, he played some outfield and with the kind of team the Cubs have, maybe he can be that platoon guy? He’s got the talent and in Joe Maddon’s creative vision of the team, there’s no reason why Baez can’t shuffle around in the lineup.
“My biggest concern right now with him is that he gets as much work in at a variety of positions as he can and just give him experience now,” Maddon said. “There’s nothing on the line, he can make mistakes and we can talk about it. He’s a really good athlete and we can settle into one, maybe two positions. Right now, this helps us fit him in and it’s good for him.”
I really think Baez will be that player who blossoms in a couple more years. He’s got the tools but needs to sharpen them a bit more.
The other cool thing about spring training is Munenori Kawasaki. Not only is he the kind of player who can lighten up a clubhouse with soaring vocals on Aerosmith songs, but he can jump in there and make those plays when needed.
“I hope there’s no monotony here,” Maddon said. “Why would you ever want to come out on a daily basis and grind it out in the Arizona heat, relentless sun, doing the same things every day and hoping to get the best things from your group? We just had a really good time a couple minutes ago, and now they’ll get down to business and do their work and take a break and come out and play. I know how I’ve done my best work throughout my life, not just my career, and it’s always when I’m having a good time,” Maddon said. “You have to separate the fun moments from business moments. … I like what we’re doing now, and I think it’s appropriate and I think it will help us. It’s part of the group and part of the culture right now.”