During the really entertaining if not kinda famous Mic'd Up Game (Cubs vs Angels on ESPN), there was a dugout discussion regarding the aliases Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo use when they're checking into hotels to keep themselves anonymous, and they were prompted to ask Dave Ross if he had one.
Rizzo looks off camera and says, "Skipper! What was your alias back in the day?"
Ross answers "Jake Taylor" and everybody laughs as we learn that was the name of the backup catcher in "Major League".
But that wasn't the interesting part of that interaction.
The interesting part was how effortlessly and... normal I guess... that Rizzo called Ross "Skipper".
Every time I'd seen Ross since he became manager, I couldn't quite make the mental switch to giving him that title.
Rizzo set me straight.
Ross isn't the ex-player old guy mentor World Series Hero Dancing With The Stars Late Night Guest Author Guy any more.
He's the Manager of the Chicago Cubs.
And now he's got to get down to the business of making managerial decisions.
Here's what he's thinking...
Pitching staff - Darvish or Lester opening day nod? Mills or Chatwood 5th starter? That Guy, Whatshisname, or This Guy stays in the pen?
Outfield - Happ or Almora in center? Where does Souza play? Who is this fast guy stealing all the bases this spring, Ian Miller?
Infield - Is Hoerner a Big Leaguer yet, or is he better off in Triple A? Kipnis at 2nd? What about Bote and Descalso?
Pulling pitchers - is my walk too slow?
Sunglasses - should I keep these weird huge super dark ones?
"Skipper" or "Skip"?
SO MANY THINGS TO THINK ABOUT!
And will be answered fairly quickly since the 26th of March is right around the corner.
It'll be interesting to watch Ross figure things out, although he'll have plenty of help I'm sure.
And really, no super hard personnel decisions to be made yet.
Unless he says that Happ is The Centerfielder, then former team-mate Almora might be a tough conversation.
Jon Lester looks crafty enough to be in that opening day starter conversation (at the end of last year if you'd have said that I would have laughed), so nothing bad to say to his former battery mate.
I mean, they didn't hand him the keys to a Rolls, but Ross has a pretty dang nice set of wheels for his first car, you know?
The bullpen will be the bullpen, and the worst that could happen is if Kimbrel ran out of gas last year, THEN what?
Probably Kipnis is 2nd base and Hoerner goes down - I just think Kipnis will be okay and with the education of young Schwarbs and Happ... the Cubs probably don't want to do that up and down and up again thing with Nico.
Anyway, hard choices but not debilitating.