Rookie treatment didn’t wipe smile off Robbie Ross’ face

Posted Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information Thursday’s game vs. Athletics, 3:05 p.m., Phoenix Municipal Stadium, Phoenix TV: None. Radio: None. Webcast: texasrangers.com Rangers probable pitchers: RHP Randy Wells, LHP Nate Robertson, LHP Jeff Beliveau, RHP Yoshinori Tateyama, RHP Coty Woods. Athletics probable pitchers: RHP Dan Straily, LHP Sean Doolittle, RHP Mike Ekstrom, LHP Pedro Figueroa, LHP Hideki Okajima.   Robbie Ross career stats
Year Club Gms (St.) W/L ERA SO W
2009Short A Spokane15 (15)4-42.667617
2010Low A Hickory/ High A Bakersfield27 (27)12-113.5711137
2011High A Myrtle Beach/ Double A Frisco27 (26)10-52.3413433
2012Rangers58 (0)6-02.224723

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Brittany Ross just shakes her head. She doesn’t know why her husband put up with it all.

Robbie Ross endured relentless hazing his rookie season, but always had a smile on his face. The Texas Rangers’ veteran bullpen didn’t take it easy on the lone Opening Day rookie reliever last year, making the 22-year-old Robbie put on the most ridiculous outfits throughout the season.

Nobody will forget Cowboy Robbie Ross trotting out to the bullpen before each game with a vest, straw hat and toy shotgun along with a pink backpack. Or the time Robbie wore the wrong jersey during a game, participated in a cow-milking contest and lost a pant leg from a pair of jeans for being tardy one day.

“He loved it, I hated it,” Brittany said. “I wanted to know who did what and what car they drove. But he’s always happy. He’s never in a bad mood for more than 30 seconds. It’s almost annoying, but that’s what attracted me to him.”

Brittany and Robbie met their sophomore year at Lexington (Ky.) Christian High School and have been attached at the hip ever since.

“They locked up and nobody else even got a glimmer,” Robbie’s father, Chuck Ross, said laughing.

Robbie knew in high school that Brittany was the woman for him, although he admitted he didn’t know how people would accept their interracial relationship. Brittany is of African-American descent, while Robbie is white.

“Honestly, it was something I didn’t know what people would think,” Robbie said. “But it’s not like a huge issue. I think you just have to accept people for who they are and what they are.”

Brittany agreed, and said their friends and family accepted it from the start. Brittany had attended predominantly white schools growing up and simply was “attracted to what was put in front of me.”

On the surface, Kentucky might not seem like the most understanding state but, as Brittany said, Lexington isn’t backwoods Kentucky.

“In the hills where people have no teeth, they might not be too accepting of it,” she said. “But I just thought he was handsome.”

Robbie’s marriage to his high school sweetheart is certainly a reminder of who he is and one of the reasons for his success at such a young age. He’s a happy-go-lucky pitcher who sports the ever popular “frohawk” and, as stated, had no problems handling an endless string of rookie hazing last season.

It’s been quite a ride to the big leagues for Robbie, too, who in five years has gone from high school soccer and baseball star to a big-league pitcher competing for the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.

Soccer, in fact, is the sport Robbie was most associated with in high school. He was known more as a speedy forward with a penchant to score goals, rather than a left-handed pitcher who could touch 90 mph.

“I heard Robbie Ross throws a 90 mph fastball, but I had no idea what that meant,” said Brittany, who was on the cheerleading squad. “Baseball was kind of the loser sport in our school, and I didn’t know anything about it.”

What it ended up meaning was Robbie had a future in baseball. The Rangers selected him in the second round of the 2008 draft, and lured him away from a commitment to the University of Kentucky with a $1.575 million signing bonus.

Chuck Ross was somewhat hesitant to see his second of six children pass on college, but he knew Robbie had the ability to compete in the minor leagues. Chuck had spent five seasons in the Brewers’ farm system as a catcher, but never made it to the big leagues.

“I knew he had a shot to do it, but thousands and thousands of players die in the minor leagues,” Chuck said.

Robbie, though, survived and thrived in the minors by posting a 2.88 ERA over three seasons. He then became a surprising success story last spring, pitching his way onto the Rangers as a lefty reliever in his first big-league camp. And he had great success with a 0.95 ERA in the first-half and finished the season with a 2.22 ERA over 58 outings.

Now, Robbie is one of the leading candidates for the fifth spot in the Rangers’ rotation.

The success at a young age has certainly impressed his teammates, but more than anything they enjoy seeing his smile whether he’s on the mound, milking a cow or giddying on down to the bullpen before the game.

Colby Lewis, whose locker is next to Robbie’s, summed it up: “Everybody loves Robbie.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, September 23Full Scoreboard
Kansas City «7Final | Box
Cleveland1
Baltimore5Top 9th | Box
NY Yankees4@theBallpark | TV: MASN, MY9, ESPN
NY Mets2Final | Box
Washington «4
Seattle2Final | Box
Toronto «10
Chicago WSox3Bottom 9th | Box
Detroit3@theBallpark | TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-DET
Pittsburgh «3Final | Box
Atlanta2
Tampa Bay6Top 9th | Box
Boston2@theBallpark | TV: Sun Sports, NESN
Milwaukee1Final | Box
Cincinnati «3
Philadelphia0Final | Box
Miami «2
St. Louis3Bottom 7th | Box
Chicago Cubs3@theBallpark | TV: FSN-MW, WCIU
Houston0Top 7th | Box
Texas2@theBallpark | TV: CSN-HOU, FSN-SW
Arizona1Top 7th | Box
Minnesota5@theBallpark | TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-N
LA Angels0Bottom 1st | Box
Oakland0@theBallpark | TV: FSN-W, CSN-CA
San Francisco0Bottom 1st | Box
Los Angeles0@theBallpark | TV: CSN-BA, SprtsNet LA, ESPN
Colorado0Bottom 1st | Box
San Diego0@theBallpark | TV: ROOT-RM, FSN-SD
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 23Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 4Full Scoreboard
Thursday
NY Giants 8:25 PM ET
Washington TV: CBS, NFL Network
Sunday
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: CBS
Detroit 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: FOX
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Oakland TV: CBS
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Jacksonville 4:05 PM ET
San Diego TV: CBS
Atlanta 4:25 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
Philadelphia 4:25 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FOX
New Orleans 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: NBC
Monday
New England 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, September 23Full Scoreboard
Pittsburgh0Final | Box
Columbus «2
Carolina0Final | Box
Buffalo «2
Philadelphia0Final | Box
Toronto «4
Boston2Final | Box
Montreal «3
Nashville2Final | Box
Tampa Bay «4
Detroit13rd Prd | Box
Chicago1
San Jose02nd Prd 8:03 | Box
Vancouver1TV: NHL Network (JIP)
Arizona01st Prd 11:42 | Box
Anaheim0
Vancouver 9/23 10:30 PM ET
San Jose 
Full Scoreboard