Jim Ross’ career has taken him many places, but on Friday, it took him to the Phillies’ dugout at Citizens Bank Park.
Ross didn’t take any swings or throw out the first pitch.
Instead, he sat down with the media, met various members of the Phillies’ organization, including manager Pete Mackanin, who was especially excited to take a photo with the legendary broadcaster.
He got to see his good friend and current Phillies broadcaster John Kruk, and expressed his excitement to see former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel again.
But the WWE Hall of Famer was also there to promote his autobiography, Slobberknocker: My Life in Professional Wrestling, which prominently features the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia is where the book, which will be released in October, begins and ends, as Ross details the circumstances surrounding his surprise appearance at WrestleMania 15 at the Wells Fargo Center — then known as the First Union Center — back on March 28, 1999.
In between, Ross, along with his co-author Paul O’Brien, recounts his life up until that point, leaving everything after that for a potential second book.
Although the book is done and will soon be seen by the public, the toughest part is just beginning for Ross, as he has begun the audio version of the book.
Ross, sporting his signature black cowboy hat and red and white sunglasses, said Friday that it has been the hardest thing he has ever done in entertainment.
“A lot of the stories were discussed with my late wife, so when I get to certain places in the manuscript that I’m reading, it harkens back to conversations that she and I had about topics on how to handle things, how do you want to address this matter, but the thing that we both agreed on was that the book has got to be totally honest,” Ross said.
Ross’ wife of more than 20 years, Jan, died back in March due to injuries she suffered after a car accident.
“The fact that she’s no longer with me makes it challenging sometimes,” he lamented. “I can tell you that the book resonates and I wrote it — with other people, obviously — but I wrote it and it’s still challenging to read from an emotional standpoint for me.”
Among the things that has helped Ross cope with the tragedy has been remaining busy.
Ross has his hands in many pots in 2017. He is under contract with WWE, where he recently did play-by-play for the inaugural Mae Young Classic in July and called the main event of WrestleMania back in April.
Ross is also the voice of New Japan Pro-Wrestling on AXS TV and hosts his own podcast called The Ross Report.
“Number one, every project that I’m doing I like,” Ross said. “I don’t have any projects that I believe are cumbersome, where I say, ‘Oh, god. I’ve got to go do this or it’s Thursday, I’ve got to go do this,’ or whatever. It’s not that way at all.”
“The New Japan stuff is two or three days a month and it’s real hardcore, straight-up wrestling. It’s kind of throwback philosophy … more steak than sizzle, so I kind of dig that,” he added. “The WWE assignments have been unique. Doing the main event of WrestleMania within a day’s notice was kind of unique.”
Ross likened his role in WWE to that of a closer in baseball.
It was fitting considering he said this while sitting within walking distance of a bullpen — in Philadelphia, where made many stops before and made another on Friday.
Ross will also appear at the Icons of Wrestling and Comic Book Collectorfest Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.