ROSSIE: LOVING THE ASPRATIONAL
Fans, opponents, umpires, media, teammates and everybody in general loves David Ross, assortedly known as Rossie or "Grandpa Rossie".
On a team with the freakish talent of Kris Bryant or the incredibly graceful power and fielding skills of the enormous Anthony Rizzo, the defensive wizardry of Addison Russell, the dogged professionalism of Ben Zobrist and the strange brew of skills that make up Javier Baez, we are amazed at those people. But we love Rossi.
Why is that?.
He doesn't say anything particularly profound. Beyond being somewhat affable, there is nothing remarkable or compelling about him in the magnetic way of Ben Hogan or Tom Brady or Kobe Bryant. He doesn't do anything charitable off the field beyond what his positive and remarkable teammates do. All in all he hits under .240 and he plays a little under 25% of the available innings. In most places they just call that "Third String Catcher."
But we love him.
I think we love him because he is an aspirational target. In whatever we do, we probably lack the inherent talent to be on the extre,e far side of the bell shaped curve as are Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Chapman and maybe even Zobrist. Most of us don't even have the unknown and inestimable potential of Wilson Contreras or Javier Baez. And that, of course is before we even begin to discuss the freaky and mysterious hand-eye coordination of Kyle Schwarber. We can admire those people. Particularly in the case of Rizzo we can like their personalities. We can certainly pull for them and be happy when they are happy. But we cannot, in our lives as nurses, postmen, truck drivers or contractors, BE them.
This gets us back to Rossie. With the effort that he has demonstrated, we can BE Rossie. We can make ourselves a little better at something every day. We can help our teammates learn and get better every day. We can assist the people around us to appreciate the moments that are presented to us. We can cheer for the achievements of those close to us and, if we have the courage, we can do what Rossie did Tuesday night. We can tell people that we love them.
So Rossie is more than an honorary captain and more than a proven winner. Rossie is the best kind of role model. He is the person who has taken relatively ordinary skills and made the most of himself while, in the process, uplifting everyone around him. Some days we fail but we love Rossie because being Rossie is within our grasp