San Diego Padres right-hander Tyson Ross opens up about life off the mound with his four-legged mascot, Maverick.
At the La Jolla home of San Diego Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross, there’s more than one athlete. Maverick, the ballplayer’s rescued pit bull, is more than happy giving his owner a run for his money. “I’ll run with him during spring training, but after a couple of blocks, I’m tired and he wants to keep going,” Ross, 28, says of his energetic sidekick of seven years. “He’s easily faster than a professional athlete.”
One look at Maverick’s smiling face and happy disposition, and it’s easy to see how he warmed his way into Ross’s heart one December day in Northern California, where Ross found him wandering the streets.
“He was malnourished, dirty, cut, and scarred, but he was friendly and smiling, so I took him home and had him checked for a chip, but no one reported him missing,” Ross recalls. Even though Ross admits it was an inopportune time in his life to get a pet—he was just out of college at UC Berkeley and living at home with his parents for the winter—he says, “I couldn’t let him just roam around, so I got him a leash and a collar, and he got comfortable.” Fortunately, his parents were equally comfortable with the arrangement. “My dad loves dogs and is always looking to get a new dog,” Ross says, adding how grateful he is to both of his parents for allowing Maverick to stay, not just at first, but for the first few years of his Major League Baseball career.
Now, seven years later and in Ross’s third season with the Padres, Maverick has easily adjusted to life in sunny San Diego with Ross and his long-time girlfriend Ashley Hoffman, where he spends his days exploring the backyard, sneaking out to meet the neighbors for a treat, chasing lizards and birds, and soaking up the rays on the balcony. Although he traveled with Ross and Hoffman to Arizona for spring training, typically when the Padres are on the road Maverick keeps Hoffman company at home or spends time at the Pooch Hotel where, Hoffman says, “All the ladies love him!”
It’s clear that there’s a lot of love for Maverick in the Ross-Hoffman household, and Ross hopes people can look beyond Maverick’s breed and see the sweet, big-hearted softie inside.
There are a lot of good dogs out there that deserve a chance and good family.
“I know there are people who are hesitant about pit bulls, but Maverick has been a great dog. He’s loving and great with kids, adults, grandparents, everyone—he adapts to every situation,” Ross says. “There are a lot of good dogs out there that deserve a chance and good family. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and you’ll end up with a great addition.”