David Ross, the veteran leader of last year’s World Series champion Chicago Cubs, will be on the new season of Dancing With the Stars.
Grandpa Rossy’s got a new gig. Former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross will participate in this season’s edition of Dancing With the Stars, which premieres on ABC on March 20. Ross is coming off a terrific final MLB season during which he was a veteran leader on the first Chicago Cubs team to win the World Series since 1908 and even hit two home runs in the postseason. Not long after, Ross and teammates Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler, along with Bill Murray, appeared on Saturday Night Live to sing the Cubs theme song.
In January, it was announced that Ross would work in the Cubs organization as a special assistant to baseball operations. That title is not very specific and has meant different things for different teams. For Ross, it means he’ll be working with the front office, in player development and scouting. It’s not just a public relations position.
A couple weeks later, Ross picked up another new job. He was hired by ESPN to be a baseball analyst. His role with ESPN is expected to consist of a variety of jobs. He’ll be part of their studio coverage, SportsCenter, and do some games. He has previous TV experience from when he did analyst work for ESPN in the postseason in the two years before his 2016 World Series run with the Cubs.
In between working for the Cubs and ESPN, Ross will be working on his dancing moves for the 24th season of Dancing With the Stars. He’ll be joined by current and former athletes, including NFL running back Rashad Jennings, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, bull rider Bonner Bolton and former Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan. Other stars include Heather Morris from Glee, Erika Jayne from Real Housewives, Nick Viall from The Bachelor, singer Normani Kordei, Saturday Night Live alum Chris Kattan, longtime entertainer Charo and “I pity the fool” Mr. T.
Hey Fool! I will be on Dancing With The Stars (DWTS)! I am honored to have two-time champion Kym Johnson as my partner…
Ross was very popular with the Cubs last year. In fact, he’s been a popular player on every team he’s been with. Grandpa Rossy’s former teammates are supporting him, including Anthony Rizzo, who had a message for Ross while on Good Morning America:“Can’t wait to watch those hips move. They don’t lie, baby.” Ross responded by revealing that Rizzo was “the twerker in the group.” Of course, Cubs fans likely remember Rizzo showed off his twerking moves in a separate skit on SNL last fall.
In the previous 23 seasons of Dancing With the Stars, a number of professional athletes have done well. Before Ross, no former MLB player had appeared on the show, but the NFL has been well-represented. Former NFL running back Emmitt Smith won the competition in Season 3 and wide receivers Hines Ward and Donald Driver took the top spot in Seasons 12 and 14, respectively.
Ross is well on his way to becoming this generation’s Bob Uecker. Uecker played major league baseball for six years as a backup catcher and never had more than 250 plate appearances in a season. His lifetime batting average was .200. He was a half-win better than replacement level for his entire career. He took that exceedingly mediocre career and turned it into longtime popularity, including more than 45 years in the booth for the Milwaukee Brewers, appearances in the old Miller Lite commercials (“I must be in the front rowwww.”), playing Harry Doyle in the movie Major League (“Juuuussst a bit outside.”)and countless appearances on The Tonight Show.
Ross played more than twice as many years in the big leagues as Uecker did and was a bit more valuable (7.2 career WAR). If he can have half the post-career success as Uecker, he’ll have done well. He’ll start down the retired catcher celebrity path at 8:00 PM on ABC on March 20.