CLEVELAND — David Bote hugged and high-fived so many people he didn't even know.
In other words, he was just like every other Cubs fan.
Bote has been here since the beginning — an 18th round pick in 2012, Theo Epstein's first draft with the Cubs front office.
You better believe Bote was there at the end, too.
He sat down the right field line in Game 5 of the 2016 World Series, cheering on a gaggle of former teammates and a bunch of guys he had never played with.
Bote understands the family dynamic fans experience at Wrigley Field, celebrating with people he'd never speak to again.
And all along, he never told them who he was or that he had played with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell and Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. in the minors.
Bote is a Colorado native who got the call to the big leagues last weekend when Ben Zobrist went on the disabled list and played his first game in front of family and friends at Coors Field. To make it even sweeter, Bote doubled in his first MLB at-bat.
"I thought [Rockies CF Charlies] Blackmon was gonna catch it," Bote said. "I saw him kinda coastin' to it and I was like, 'No way you're about to catch this.' And then I realized he was playing it off the wall.
"I got to second base and turned around, all 24 of those guys are standing up on the top step, raising their hands, giving me the peace sign. I don't want to say it was a relief, but it's more of kinda like that jittery feeling of 'That was pretty sweet.'"
Bote, 25, understands he's not up here to play a huge role — he's only recorded 5 trips to the plate in 4 games — but he knows the 2018 Cubs have a World Series or bust mindset and he wants to do all he can to get the team there once again.
He's never been considered a top prospect and played all over the field in the Cubs minor-league system — every position but catcher and center field (yes, he's even pitched 7 innings) — and realizes how hard it is for a utility guy to even make it to the majors.
"It's crazy because coming from where I have in my baseball career as a guy who's been bounced around or not looked at as what people say as an organizational player," Bote said. "Obviously the Cubs had belief in me and I've had belief in myself too of making it here and blocking out the outside noise.
"It was tough at times. And then to make your debut and play in the big leagues and then to be with these guys and be competing at the highest level for the highest prize in the game is something I can't even put into words.
"I'm super grateful, humbled and blessed to have been part of it and to make it and to be here with this club especially is a very humbling experience."
Bote has been at Wrigley a bunch, including the World Series contest plus Game 2 of the 2016 NLDS — where he celebrated Travis Wood's homer — as well as a memorable regular-season game in July 2015. The kid sitting in front of Bote was crying after the Cubs blew a lead and surrendered four runs to the Colorado Rockies in the top of the ninth inning on that July 27th evening. To help ease his pain, Bote told the kid they were about to witness a Kris Bryant walk-off...which is exactly what happened.
But for all the times he's been to Wrigley as a fan, Bote has never once stepped foot on the hallowed ground of the diamond.
That will change Thursday when he will finally get an opportunity to experience it as a player in those historic pinstripes and blue "C".
And you better believe Bote's got that day circled on his calendar:
"There's no better place on Earth."