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Listen Now! Chicago Cubs manager David Ross talks spring training, 2016 World Series, more

SportsListen Now! Chicago Cubs manager David Ross talks spring training, 2016 World Series, more

There are memories that live inside our minds that remain clear no matter how much time passes.

Moments fade, things are forgotten, but some visions remain etched in our mind, as vivid as the moment they occurred.

One such moment for me was Nov. 3, 2016, at 12:47 a.m.

It was at the moment that Michael Martinez hit a ground ball to Kris Bryant at third base in the bottom of the 10th inning, and Bryant tossed the ball over to Anthony Rizzo for the final out, propelling the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory in 108 years.

I had finally seen something that seemed improbable during my 30 years of Cubs fandom.

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Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross, left, watches just before the final out of the 2016 World Series that saw the Cubs win the title.

On one of the TV replays, cameras were fixed on veteran catcher David Ross, who watched the final out, then leapfrogged the dugout barrier to rush the field and celebrate the victory with his teammates.

It marked the perfect ending to a 15-year MLB playing career.

Ross, now the manager of the Cubs, is the latest guest on “The *State* of Florida Sports Podcast,” powered by the USA TODAY Network.

Ross spends the offseason with his family in Tallahassee, and he is preparing to head out to Arizona when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13.

Despite being from Tallahassee, Ross played two years of college baseball at Auburn — including hitting a home run that eliminated the Seminoles from the postseason — before transferring to the University of Florida.

“They treat me pretty good here,” Ross says of his hometown with a laugh during the podcast. “I definitely hear stories from people still telling me about that home run at Auburn and going to Florida and you know, I’ve got some Gator friends too. So they backed me up here and there. But I grew up watching FSU, my high school was on the campus at Florida State. … Some people still give me a hard time, but I think it’s all in fun.”

2016 World Series Game 7 -- Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians Cleveland  -- Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (3) is carried off the field after defeating the Cleveland Indians in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field.

Ross was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and left UF after his junior season, embarking on a long and prosperous Major League career that saw him part of two World Series winners.

In his final season of 2016, he had one of the three best statistical years of his career. But the only statistic that really mattered was breaking that 108-year-old supposed curse of the Billy goat.

“My favorite thing about that is people coming up and telling their stories, their history, where they were, what they were thinking, who they were thinking about,” Ross said. “It just, you know, brings back great memories and that’s what it’s all about.”

Ross will be heading into his fourth year as the Chicago Cubs manager. Long gone are his teammates Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber and others.

But the future is bright for Ross and this young team.

“I love the athleticism we have in the middle and especially with the shift being gone and we’ve added some speed and we got really good baseball players, high IQ, great character guys that are going to come in and work hard and compete every single day,” Ross said. “I can’t wait to get out to spring training and start this journey.”

There’s so much more I couldn’t even get into in this column, so you have to give the podcast a listen.

Join the tens of thousands that have downloaded us and find out why we give you the best sports breakdowns in the state.

We can be downloaded wherever you listen to podcasts, or simply type in “The *State* of Florida Sports Podcast” into your favorite search engine. We also can be found on any of the 17 USA TODAY-Network Florida websites.

If you like it, you can check out previous shows, which feature current and former professional athletes and coaches, as well as our stable of journalists who cover beats and write columns, all of whom have a tie to the Sunshine State.

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