David Ross stunned by how Chicago has embraced his retirement tour with Cubs


David Ross can attest to the value of social media.

The veteran catcher said his life has changed since the "Grandpa Rossy" Instagram account launched.

Ross announced in spring training he would retire after the 2016 season and in response, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant created the Instagram account to document the farewell tour.

When the Cubs starting lineup was announced for Game 1 of the National League Division Series Friday night, a Wrigley crowd of more than 42,000 gave Ross one of the biggest cheers, a trend that has taken place all season.

Ross appreciates it, even if he has no idea why the city of Chicago has taken to him so warmly.

"There's a lot of love I feel," Ross said before Game 2 Saturday. "I don't know why. That's something you can, I don't know, ask my teammates or the fans. I don't know. I try to be myself.

"...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, I really appreciate it. It's a lot of love and I promise you, I don't deserve even half of it."

Ross said he thinks much of the "Grandpa Rossy" craze stems from all the nice things his teammates say about him.

During the Cubs' final homestand, they surprised him with a pregame ceremony that included a farewell video on the video board in left field where several teammates paid homage to Jon Lester's personal catcher.

Ross' teammates love his constant cheerleading in the dugout and part of the reason he's become so respected is a knack for reading moments and knowing when to get on guys or when a gentler word might be the better course of action.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

When Ross does retire - which he said is a 99.9 percent chance ("something would have to be crazy for me to come back") - he could go several different routes with his post-playing career, from being a TV analyst to a coach or even a manager someday.

Ross understands opportunities to run a team don't come along every day, so he admits he would have to think about it if he were approached this winter.

But for now, he wants to spend time with his wife and young children.

"It's all about talking to the family and making decisions," he said. "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 really want to just enjoy this postseason."

For a journeyman catcher who has played for seven different teams, this two-year deal with the Cubs in the twilight of a 15-year career couldn't have gone more perfectly for both sides.

Especially if it ends in a World Series title.

"[My time in Chicago has] gone way off script," Ross said, who also reflected on his career as a whole the day after potentially his last postseason start behind the plate. "I kind of feel like I've lived my dream.

"I've gotten to live this lifestyle 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 skillset I have and what I bring to the table."

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