Cody Ross isn’t just one of the nicest guys in Major League Baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder is also a Miley Cyrus fan. So much so, he walked out to her song “We Can’t Stop,” due to a recommendation by his good buddy, Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. The song must have worked, because Ross goes into the All-Star break with hot hands, both in terms of hits and fielding. The 10-year veteran, who came to the Diamondbacks this year after being a free agent from the Boston Red Sox, won a World Series with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and has become a Diamondbacks leader. He’s hit 25 RBIs, making him one of the most consistent players on the team — a characteristic he thinks is key for the Diamondbacks to a win a World Series this year. Keep reading for the 32-year-old Scottsdale resident’s outlook on the team, as well as to hear five reasons why he’s loved living in the Valley since buying a home in Arizona in 2005.
What brought you to Arizona?
I moved here at the end of 2005. The weather in the off-season brought me here to work out and train. I fell in love with it and moved here.
Why were the Arizona Diamondbacks the best team for you to play on now?
Geographically, it made the most sense. Being a free agent, it’s pretty cool you get to choose what team you want to play for. The problem is, sometimes the teams you want to play for don’t come knocking at your door. My family and I were hoping to land on the West Coast somewhere to be closer to home (in New Mexico), and being blessed by the Diamondbacks calling and being able to strike a deal, we couldn’t be happier.
Obviously, I wanted to be on a team that was going to win and succeed the next few years. That was a big part of it, too. I knew this team was really talented, being one year removed from being a division champion in 2011, and there is a lot of young good pitching and guys who can swing the bat and play good baseball. All of it made sense, and I’m happy I get to be a part of it.
How would you characterize Arizona’s fans and the baseball atmosphere here?
It’s a little different as far as this is such a big city, and baseball hasn’t been around here as long as some of the teams I’ve played for in the past, like the Dodgers, Giants and Red Sox, but that just take time. There are a lot of people who aren’t from this part of the country, and a lot of transplants who move here for the weather in the off-season, like myself.
We have a great fan base here, and there are a lot of die-hard Diamondbacks fans. Hopefully, they will only get stronger for years to come, and obviously, winning helps. When you win, people tend to jump on the bandwagon. Five or six years ago, being in San Francisco in 2007 or 2008, the place was empty. They built a strong, competitive team, and now they pack the place in everyday. Winning helps, and hopefully that’ll be the case here.
As a World Series winner yourself, what advice do you have for your fellow teammates as far as winning that World Series?
I’m not the most vocal leader. I’m not going to go in and hold team meetings. I like to play the game and lead by example. I definitely have my two cents when need be, but I just try to let everyone know there’s no better feeling in this game than being in that moment and making that final out and knowing you’re the last team standing.
One isn’t enough. Once you get that one, you want to feel that feeling again, and you want to be in that situation again. Obviously, that was one of the best times of my life, and we’re all fighting right now to get back there.
What are the keys for the Diamondbacks in the second half of the season to win that World Series?
I think we need to be more consistent and try to go into every series and win them. It’s tough to sweep a series, but if we can just go in and win them and try to avoid the losing streaks, that’s the big thing. It’s the team that can get hot down the stretch.
Our division’s tough. The Dodgers were in the cellar a week ago, and now they’re in second place. Obviously, the Giants are the defending World Champions, and they’re not going to give up. They’ve been in tough situations the last three years, and then the Padres and Rockies are right there, too. We have a lot of work ahead, but just stay consistent. Keep pitching well, keep playing good defense, try to get timely hits, and keep putting in the work. That’s the main thing. Work hard. It sounds cliche, but it’s so true.
How would you characterize the team’s chemistry compared to other teams you’ve been with?
It starts from the top. They’ve built this team similar to how our coaching staff played. They’ve all been in crucial situations in big times in their careers, and they’ve all had big careers and played the game the right way, played hard and never gave up. I think that’s what they’re trying to model this team after.
They’ve got a bunch of guys who want to play and love to play and are professional about it. The team chemistry is awesome. We all get along fantastically, and that’s key for a winning team.
What do you think are the biggest strengths you bring to the game?
Our outfield is quite young, with (Adam) Eaton and (A.J.) Pollock. Even (Gerardo) Parra, who’s been around for awhile, he’s still young at 26. (Jason) Kubel and I are the veterans, and we try to lead by example. It started day one in spring training, working hard and showing the young guys how we go about it and how we expect them to, as well.
They’re all fantastic players. They have the best work ethic. I’ve been around quite some time, and that’s the main thing, is leading by example. They’ll hopefully do the same when I’m long gone out of this game.
What are your life-long goals, and what do you envision doing after you retire?
That’s a good question. I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve maybe thought about it a little bit, but I’m not quite sure still.
My life-long goal is to live a happy, enjoyable life. Life is short, and I just want to enjoy every moment. Sometimes you get caught up in the negativity, especially what this game brings. It’s such a negative game for position players, because you fail seven times out of 10, and that’s if you’re good. Try to stay positive, smile, have fun, and enjoy life.
How do you stay positive during slumps or rough patches?
That just comes over time. Knowing before the season starts you’re going to go through tough stretches and struggle, but, with the bad comes the good. The main thing for me is I try to stay even keel the whole time. Of course, I’m going to get upset, of course, I’m going to break a helmet here and there, but I try as hard as I can to stay consistent.
Don’t get too high, don’t get too low, because at any given time, you can find yourself at one end or the other. You can be in a slump, or you can be as hot as anybody in the game. Stay mentally stable.
Do you have any rituals when it comes to baseball?
I say I don’t and that I’m not a superstitious guy, but I find myself doing small things. If we win a couple games in a row, I’ll go a certain way to the field and stay on a path. If we lose, I’ll go down a different way. If I get a hit, and there’s a piece of gum in my mom, I’ll keep it in for my next at-bat — little stuff like that that doesn’t really matter, but does to baseball players.
Why did you choose Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” as one of your walk-up songs this year?
Every year, my good buddy Dan Uggla, who plays for the Braves, asks me what walk-up song I come out to, because he always wants to be in the now when it comes to walk-up songs, and he’s not very good when it comes to music. I feel like I take pride in my music. We were in Atlanta, and I hear this song he’s coming out to, and it was Miley Cyrus. I was like, “This is really good.”
It was right when it first came out. I went to the locker room and texted him, “What song are you coming out to?” He told me, “We Can’t Stop,” so I downloaded it and listened to it and was like, “Oh, man, this is really good.” I stole it and got one back from him.
What do you do when you’re not playing baseball?
I hang out with my wife and two kids and do a lot of family things. I’m gone so much throughout the year, being at the field for so many hours every day and then going out on the road. When I do have off-time, I try to do family things. That’s the most important thing for me.
During the summer, we swim, cook out. In the off-season, my getaway is playing golf. A lot of guys live here, and we’ll get together and play golf.
How good of a golfer are you?
Not very good. I’m maybe a 10 handicap. I don’t play enough. If I played more, I’d be better. I enjoy it. I’m not going to go out there and embarrass myself or swing and miss. My problem is, I can’t keep the ball on the fairway, my driver.
Do you have a favorite course to play at?
When you’re on the road, what’s your favorite stadium to play at?
I like Dodger Stadium. I like they’ve really kept it up-to-date. It’s an old stadium, but they’ve done amazing renovations. I love the speaker in the outfield. You can almost feel it in your insides thumping when they play anything during the game. When they’re playing well, they draw well, and it’s a lot of fun to go to.
What’s your favorite team to play against?
Throughout my career, I always like to play the Braves. It’s a place that has a lot of nostalgia and a lot of history. I’ve played well against them in the past.
Philly is another team I love to go and play against.
Why should people support the Diamondbacks?
We have a really entertaining team and a lot of guys who hustle and play hard. We have a lot of good pitching. We have a lot of fun. We’re constantly doing crazy things on the field and just enjoying being here.
How will you spend your All-Star break?
My family is going to Tahoe. Were going to get out of the heat and spend some time around the lake and maybe do some boating and something relaxing.
What’s your diet like?
I did a food sensitivity test, and I’m severely allergic to gluten. I try to stay gluten-free, but it’s so hard because all of the things I really enjoy, like Italian food and breads, have gluten in them. I’m not completely gluten-free. I try to stick by it the best I can, but it’s tough.
My diet in the season is actually worse than in the off-season. In the off-season, I really try to hone in and watch what I eat because I’m not as active. I’m working out, but still not burning nearly as many calories as you are out here during batting practice, before the game, during the game, and working out after the game. My diet gets a little worse during the session because you can consume more calories, but I try to watch my weight. I’m 32, I have to.