You can hardly take a step in South Florida sports right now without seeing Ross. El Clasico comes to town Saturday night to cap another popular national run of international soccer at Hard Rock Stadium. He closed the deal by going to Barcelona last December, knowing the best way for it to happen after talking to team executives would be if the teams tied, so neither team would be too happy or too upset after the game. Real Madrid tied it in stoppage time.
"I was the one happy guy in Barcelona," he said.
The Marlins sale? Ross says he has his "hands full" and repeated the monthslong idea he isn't interested. Still, he must have sniffed around early on, because he dismissed the asking price of now $1.2 billion by team owner Jeffrey Loria.
"I think he's holding out for dollars right now that are unrealistic," Ross said. "That's what I would guess. They have their issues, certainly. That's their problem. I have to worry about mine."
Tennis? Yes, the Miami Open might still happen at his Hard Rock Stadium if renovations aren't approved to the Key Biscayne tennis center. It seems odd, but ...
"Stay tuned," he said.
It's in play?
"It's a thought," he said.
Then there's his stadium. It's finishing a second offseason of self-funded upgrades. Suites. Landscaping. All that remains for a third phase are pedestrian bridges and tunnels to help the flow of traffic.
But the centerpiece of his sports name, the passion that moves him most, remains the team that finally took a first step last year toward changing a dismal culture. Ross went out and personally found a coach in Adam Gase. Gase resurrected the quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. The wins came.
The Dolphins, the odd uncle for so long, were the only South Florida team to make the playoffs. Now it's next year.
"Everyone is excited," Ross said. "Ticket sales reflect that. We have the right people. I believe in them. They work well together."
For the opening years of his run, Ross was similar to H. Wayne Huizenga in one regard: His sports success didn't come close to his business success. He couldn't find his sports voice, either. He wanted to find a, "young Don Shula," and hired an old Joe Philbin. Now that he has found a good, young coach he isn't over doing it.
Changing the culture, he said, was last year's first step. But it was just nothing more than that.
"You have to take one step at a time and one day at a time in growing it," Ross said. "I also don't want to put anyone in a situation where expectations. ... We all have great expectations, but they have to be realistic. We're a long, growing team.
"I think we have a team that really is working well together," Ross said. "The front office, both on the business side and the football side. I'm kind of thrilled the way things are. I think we have the right people, and that's key. I believe in them, and they work together well."
For so many of the previous eight years, the question on the first day of training camp was about a troubled coach or floundering era. It wasn't if the season would fail, but when. Thursday was different. Will it project into another season? Maybe Ross is right. Don't jinx it.