Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross has kept a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In this final installment, he talks about what needs to get better next year, reveals whether there have been talks with the team about staying here, explains why he has something to say about Aaron Rodgers, and gives a glimpse inside the locker room. Ross also wants to deliver a message to the fans. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
Some of you may have seen me when we were in Tampa last week wearing my son Hudson's pants during batting practice. Hudson has a home jersey and a road jersey. His road gear goes in my bag when we travel and gets hung in my locker. I was having a conversation with Ryan Kalish and I wear short pants for BP. Without looking, I went to go grab the pants that I thought were mine. When I went to put them on, they were a little tight. Everyone thought wearing Hudson's pants was really funny. So I put them on in the clubhouse and started walking around. Some of the guys were telling me to wear them out to BP and it became kind of a joke. I wore them out there and got a few laughs out of it. The guys wanted me to wear them during the game. They started pooling their money and it got close to $10,000 they were offering me. Obviously, I didn't want to turn down the money, but I was so afraid that when I was going to slide or run that the seams were just going to bust open and I'd be out there exposed. So even though it was tough to turn down, I did.
We are finishing the season against the Orioles, Rays and Yankees. All we can do at this point is go out and play hard for the integrity of the game and try to play spoiler and win games. Even though we are out it, it still feels good to go out and win, go in the clubhouse and hear music playing and have a good time. If we're not going to be in the playoffs, we don't want anyone else to be is the type of attitude we have.
I don't set personal goals going into a season. Just for the simple fact that if I were to reach those goals and we still had 15 or 20 games to go, I'd feel like I'd shut it down and be content with it. I just try to go out and contribute on a daily basis. At the end of the year, you look back and look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you gave everything you had. So for me, that's all I do.
As this season winds to an end, something I'm taking with me is a jersey, as every team that I've played for I have a jersey framed in my office. But when I think back on this season, for me, it was a gut check and a learning experience. Nobody in our clubhouse saw this one coming. It happens. It's baseball. We just have to learn from it, try to make ourselves better and look forward to next year. At this point, that's all we can do. Going into next year, I would say, what we have to improve on is just every aspect of the game. You know ... everything.
I'm a free agent at the end of this season. There are talks going on with the Red Sox. We're in the beginning stages of talking. Hopefully we can get something done. Obviously, I want to come back here and be a part of this team. I think this will be a really good team for a long time. I think they'll make some really good moves. The number one thing for me is winning. I want to win. At this point in my career, there is nothing that is going to satisfy me in baseball more than winning. Money is good, yes, but that only goes so far. I've seen a lot of people make a lot of money and never win or not play well and not be happy. Winning is the number one thing for me.
This offseason I expect to be very similar to last offseason, I would assume. I am going to take a couple weeks off and then start hitting early. I started hitting early last year. Previously, I didn't start hitting until around January. Then last year, I started hitting at the end of October. I noticed when I picked up the bat this past spring training that I wasn't totally lost. A lot of times, if you go for a long period of time without picking up a bat, you lose it. It takes a while to find it and get it back. I'm going to do the same thing this year: Start hitting early and keep working out. Once January hits, then really get after it.
I liked a lot of your suggestions for my fantasy football team I have with Jacoby Ellsbury. Night at the Rossbury was a really good one. I like that. We did come up with a name though: Ellrozay. Ell for Ellsbury and Rozay for me because all the guys on the team call me Rozay. Because my last name is Ross and there is a rapper named Rick Ross who calls himself Rozay. So all the players call me Rozay. I like Ellrozay because it kind of sounds Spanish.
Ellrozay is a really good team. When we reshuffled the draft order because we had traded away half our fantasy team players, we went from the number one pick to the number two overall pick. We drafted Aaron Rodgers. He is who we wanted. Arian Foster went first and we weren't going to take him. I do have something to say to Aaron Rodgers though. We need you to pick it up Aaron, come on. I always get tweets about how I need to start picking up my game for fantasy players. So I'm going to go out and say to Aaron, “Pick it up!” But, my team is off to a good start. We had a little hiccup where we lost Week 2 because Antonio Gates said he was playing and then all of a sudden right before the game he didn't. Jacoby and I had already set our lineup. We were playing in our own game at the time. So we couldn't change our lineup. We had zero points there and it ended up costing us the win.
I wanted to have a little fun in this final dairy by giving you a glimpse into what our locker room is really like. So here are my nominations for the following ...
Best dressed on this team: Well, besides me, I'd have to say David Ortiz. He mixes it up. He wears the suits and the ties but then he'll throw on a pair of nice jeans with a coat and a little handkerchief in the pocket and always with the cool sunglasses, the bling chain and watch that sparkles like crazy.
Wardrobe challenged: I would say Aaron Cook because he looks like he's going fishing when he gets on the plane. Clay Buchholz as well. They're cowboys. They always look they should be out fishing. We need to clean that up.
Most talkative: Dustin Pedroia in spurts. He has his moments where he goes and goes but then he has his time when he is just quiet. When you get him going though, it's nonstop. Pedal to the metal. It's entertaining when he gets going.
Shyest: James Loney. I played with him when we were both in the National League. He's shy but when you get to know him, he opens up. A great, great guy who is fun to be around. But if you don't know him, he's definitely shy.
Can't walk by a mirror without checking himself out: Mike Aviles. He's not afraid to look at himself and admire his body, hair, those giant calves, and everything else.
Best nickname: Saltalamacchia Pet, like a Chia Pet because of his hair. I think Jacoby came up with that because that's who I got it from.
Could make a career out of playing video games: Clay, not even close. He's constantly on his iPad playing a game or on his PS4 or whatever it is. He's got some sort of gadget he's playing all the time. He's talented. He plays that. He plays the guitar. He plays everything. I don't know how he has time to learn all these things. It's unbelievable.
First to offer to pick up the check: Dustin Pedroia is generous but all the guys that were very generous got traded ... Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. But really, the most generous by far is absolutely John Lackey. He is the most generous player maybe ever.
Worst voice: Pedro Ciriaco hands down is the worst singer I may have ever heard in my life. We get the rookies up on the bus when we're on the road and make them sing. Pedro is not good, wow, really not good.
Best voice: Jose Iglesias. When he sings Enrique Iglesias he sounds just like him. Jose is definitely the best rookie singing voice.
In case you are wondering if we are going to make our rookies dress up in costumes, the answer is yes. We are taking a train from Baltimore to New York. Once we get to New York, we're going to drop them off in Times Square or someplace like that. What the costumes will be is classified information. We are in the process of deciding that. You'll have to wait to see what we dress them up as.
I hope this look into our locker room let's you see that I've had an absolute blast with most everybody here. A great group that maybe didn't turn out on the field the way we expected or hoped it would, still along the way we had some fun times. I enjoyed every second that I've been here.
Lastly, I wanted to say something to all the Red Sox fans out there. Thank you guys for the support throughout the year. I know it's been a tough year as well. Hopefully we can turn this ship around. Playing at Fenway, I find to be one of the best places to hit in the whole League. It's one of the best places to play because of the fans. There are very few ballparks where you get to play in front of a packed house every night in the major leagues. I've had a blast playing here.