(670 The Score) Through the challenges the Cubs faced in a pandemic-altered season, they had first-year manager David Ross leading the way, looking to create a sense of stability and searching for solutions.
While Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was disappointed in the team's early October exit, he also felt Ross provided the club with great structure that helped foster regular-season success. The Cubs went 34-26 and won the NL Central in the truncated season.
"What we saw, what we experienced, was a very successful first year for somebody who's going to be a great manager here for a long time," Epstein said of Ross on Monday. "We feel really good about having Rossy at the helm of this group -- of any group -- moving forward.
"He developed great trust with all the players. He was an oustanding leader of the coaching staff and of the group. He set high standards. He had the difficult conversations. I thought he saw the game extremely well. He took a bullpen that struggled early and played an important role in bringing it along to the point where it was a strength of the club.
"He just did a lot of things that great leaders do. I thought it was an extremely successful first year."
The 43-year-old Ross signed a three-year contract with the Cubs last fall. A 15-year MLB veteran, Ross was tasked with replacing Joe Maddon as manager and guiding the Cubs back to the playoffs after they missed the postseason in 2019.
Ross faced tremendous challenges in his first season, as he was forced to navigate through the uncertainty created by the coronavirus.
"We're in extremely good hands with Rossy going forward," Epstein said. "I know every player that he touched this year feels exactly the same way."
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.