By Bruce Levine--
NEW YORK (CBS) -- How does one become a leader being a backup catcher who doesn't hit for power or average? That's the beauty of 38-year-old David Ross, who's truly one of the clubhouse leaders on this upstart Cubs team that's facing the Mets in the NLCS.
In a day an age when you must be a home run hitter or a high on-base player with a quality WAR number to get noticed, Ross is none of those. He's the favorite teammate of just about every player on the team. Originally brought in to be the personal catcher for left-hander Jon Lester, who he had caught in Boston, he has shown the people around the club just what an asset he is.
The Cubs rely on a lot of positive mental reinforcement as a part of their "Cub Way" of doing business under the leadership of the front office and manager Joe Maddon. A future manager in the making, Ross is an extension of that, with the good vibe and sage advice he brings with him to the ballpark every day.
"I am enjoying (this run as much as with World Series champion Boston in 2013) cause I want so much for these young talented guys to succeed," Ross said. "I want them to win on this stage. They have exceeded my expectations by far the way they handle things."
The mother hen of the group, Ross has such great communication skills that his presence would missed if he wasn't at the forefront of the routine before every game.
"I am having fun," he said. "This is a great group to be around. There only concern is each other and caring about each other. This is special when you have the high-round picks and talent. No one is on an ego trip. No one is selfish. It is all about winning baseball and what is best for the team."
Only a special guy like Ross would get a two-year, $5-million deal after hitting .184 in 2014. The beauty of Ross is no player on this team would consider him any less a contributor than the Rizzos, Bryants or Arrietas.
"Being the same person when I come in or Joe comes into the clubhouse, the veterans we don't change from day to day," he said. "There is no panic in this group. We don't get down on ourselves. When we have won the way we have the lost three weeks, there is no reason to get down. All you are going to ask from your teammates is come in and do the best job you can. I can sleep fine (with that effort). This is a hard game. Let's go out there and fight tooth and nail and sleep fine afterwards win or lose."
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.
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