There are memories that live inside our minds that remain clear no matter how much time has passed.
Moments fade away, things are forgotten, but some visions remain etched in our minds, as vivid as the moment they occurred.
One of these moments for me was November 3, 2016, at 12:47 am
In the run, Michael Martinez hit a ground ball to Chris Bryant at third base in the bottom of the tenth inning, and Bryant threw the ball to Anthony Rizzo on the final out, propelling the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory. in 108 years.
I finally saw something that seemed unbearable in my 30 years with the Cubs.
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In one replay on television, cameras fixed on veteran catcher David Ross, who watched the final game, then jumped the dugout barrier to rush onto the field and celebrate the victory with his teammates.
It was a perfect end to his 15-year MLB playing career.
Ross, now the Cubs’ manager, is the latest guest on “The *State* of Florida Sports Podcast,” powered by the USA TODAY Network.
Ross is resting with his family in Tallahassee, and getting ready to head to Arizona when Shooters & Catchers reports on February 13th.
Despite being from Tallahassee, Ross played baseball for two years at Auburn University—including hitting a home run that eliminated the Seminoles from the postseason—before transferring to the University of Florida.
“They treat me so well here,” Ross says of his hometown, laughing during the podcast. “I’ve definitely heard stories from people who keep telling me about that house in Auburn and going to Florida and, you know, I have some alligator friends too. So they supported me here and there. But I grew up watching Florida State University, my high school was on campus in Florida.” … Some people still have a hard time with it, but I think it’s all in fun.”
Ross was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and left UF after his junior season, embarking on a long and flourishing major league career that made him a part of two World Series winners.
In his final season of 2016, he had one of the three best statistical years of his career. But the one stat that really mattered was breaking that supposed 108-year-old billy goat curse.
“My favorite thing about it,” said Ross, “is for people to come and tell their stories, their history, where they’ve been, what they were thinking about, who they were thinking about.” It just, you know, brings back great memories and that’s what it’s all about.”
Ross will be heading into his fourth year as head coach of the Chicago Cubs. Gone are teammates Anthony Rizzo, Chris Bryant, Javi Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and others.
But the future is bright for Ross and this young team.
“I love the athleticism we have in the middle and especially as the turnaround is over and we add some speed and we have really good baseball players, high IQs, great personalities who are going to come in and work hard and compete every bit,” Ross said. “
There’s a lot I couldn’t even get into in this column, so tune in to the podcast.
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