David Ross Was Very Calmly Mad As Heck
12:16 PM EDT on July 5, 2023
Milwaukee didn’t schedule any postgame fireworks for the 4th of July, but Cubs manager David Ross provided them anyway. Ross was ejected in the ninth inning of his team's 7-6 win over the Brewers yesterday, and then went on several enjoyable rants postgame.
It is fair to say that Ross didn’t like home plate umpire Erich Bacchus’s strike zone, at all. He said that several obvious balls were called strikes: “Guys were starting to get frustrated. I know it’s not an easy job, but some of the pitches that got called today weren’t even close.” He also didn’t like that the Brewers decided to close the roof late in the game: “They’re closing the roof to get rid of the shadows late. There was a lot of bullshit around today that was really frustrating… I fuckin’ thought it was horseshit. I don’t fuckin’ know.” He then apologized for his language, which was polite of him but probably unnecessary given that baseball managers are somewhere near sailors in terms of cursing.
What I liked about this rant is you can see that Ross is just so, so fuckin’ pissed off but he doesn’t really raise his voice or start speaking really fast or anything like that. He is somehow ranting in a perfectly evenhanded tone, while also conveying his extreme anger at the situation in the game. It’s pretty neat, honestly. Maybe he’s just a little resigned since the Cubs, despite a +23 run differential, have lost seven of 10 and are seven back in the division. Everyone else in the National League Central has been outscored on the season! Chicago is sixth in the whole National League in run differential, and 11th in the standings.
Also, to be fair to Ross, the last few innings of the game really were pretty wild. The Cubs led 6-2 before giving up two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to allow Milwaukee to tie it. In the 10th, Ian Happ threw out Andruw Monasterio at the plate to save the game for the Cubs; then Miguel Amaya immediately threw out Owen Miller stretching for second. Happ showed off his arm again the next inning, getting Miller at the plate to win the game for Chicago. Incredible!
The 11th was when Ross blew his top. With Dansby Swanson at the plate, Bacchus lost track of the count. He called for a strikeout on strike two. First base ump Andy Fletcher subsequently tossed Cubs first base coach Mike Napoli for arguing. Then Ross came out, argued with Bacchus, and also got tossed. Ump Scorecards rates Bacchus slightly below average among MLB umps, but his minimum accuracy, which measures the worst he’s been in one game, is 11th-worst. Per the site, he was better than his average yesterday! But he also generally favors the home team, and the site says he favored the Brewers by almost a run yesterday. A strikeout of Nico Hoerner in the top of the eighth was particularly egregious. That is likely what set Ross off.
As for the roof, Ross said he thought it wasn’t legal to close the roof for anything but rain. (Miller Park's delay for a roof closure is only a few minutes.) The Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan checked the rules, so I didn’t have to.
The rule goes on to say: “the roof can be closed only for weather reasons if the game begins with the roof open. If the game begins with the roof closed, it can be reopened once if the home team determines the climatic environment has reached a level where fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by opening the roof.
“The roof may be moved only once during a game, unless inclement weather indicates otherwise. During the postseason, the Commissioner or another designated official shall make all decisions regarding roof movement, in consultation with the home club and the umpire crew chief.”
So Ross seemed to be right, unless the Brewers had decided that the climatic environment had reached a level where fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by closing the roof. He might have fuckin' thought that was horseshit, too.