David Ross is very happy with second place on 'Dancing with the Stars'

Tuesday night was the long awaited finale of “Dancing with the Stars.” After weeks and weeks of dancing, we’d finally learn if David Ross would end his unlikely run on the show with a coronation as the winner, and place the mirrorball trophy next to his World Series ring. Sadly, adding to the trophy case wasn’t in the cards for David, but his final night on the dancing competition showed just how much he’s improved since the start of the show, and just how much he enjoyed every single minute.

[Fantasy Football is open! Sign up now]

Of course, the announcement of the winner didn’t come until the actual final minute of the show. And before that, the three remaining couples (David and his pro partner Lindsay Arnold, Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater, and Normani Kordei and Val Chmerkovskiy) had to do their final dance for the judges and the viewers, a fusion routine. David and Lindsay performed a foxtrot/salsa, which is so much better than the weird sci-fi/salsa they did a few weeks ago.

It’s incredible to see how much David has improved from the first week. He never lacked confidence, even in the early going, but in his final performance it’s clear he now has the skills to back it up. The judges agreed, with Bruno Tonioli even saying that he’s already “the people’s champ.” And Carrie Ann Inaba closed out the judge’s comments by telling David that she was sad she wouldn’t get to watch him dance anymore.

When the three couples were whittled down to the two finalists, both David and Lindsay were completely surprised that they made it to the final two, along with Rashad and Emma. Lindsay even used the word “shocked” when she spoke with US magazine.

“I’m super proud of this season. When we heard that we were not the third place couple, I’m not going to lie — I don’t want to say shocked, because it doesn’t surprise me that people love this guy — but it was a little bit shocking,” she told Us. “It was very cool and special.”

When the winner was finally named, Rashad Jennings and Emma Slater came out on top, with David and Lindsay coming in second. But David wasn’t disappointed for a second. Here’s what he told Us Magazine.

“I’m shocked and thankful. I felt like I was a winner when they announced I was going to the finals,” the former baseball player, 40, told Us Weekly following the live show. “This week we’ve just enjoyed each other and had fun. I came out here with zero expectations.”

David Ross smiles during his final routine on the “Dancing with the Stars” finale. (YouTube/ABC)

David had the right attitude about “Dancing with the Stars.” He went in with no expectations, just hoping to learn, work hard and have fun. And he did all three of those things. Watching him through the weeks, there were a number of times where I thought he was headed home, even with his boundless positivity and limitless capacity for fun, silly routines. He had some tough dances, but the fans were always there to lift him back up. And he told US that he’s so grateful for the whole experience.

“I’m so thankful for the friendship I’ve created with Lindsay, and all the contestants. This show has been amazing. The people that work for the show are amazing. I can’t say thank you enough.”

David Ross is the first MLB player to ever compete on “Dancing with the Stars,” and thanks to his trailblazing efforts in reality TV, he probably won’t be the last. But whoever comes next has some mighty footsteps to follow.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

– – – – – –

Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher