"You go, we go!"
A phrase leadoff man Dexter Fowler heard from his Cubs teammates game after game during the team's World Series run.
So when Fowler was the first player to step into the batter's box in Game 7 of the World Series, it probably shouldn't have been a huge surprise he would deliver. Only he went above and beyond, clobbering a home run over the centerfield field wall to start the Cubs off on the right foot.
What is it about Fowler that leads to setting the table for the rest of the lineup?
Believe it or not, the popular Nintendo racing video game Mario Kart may have played some part in fueling Fowler and his teammates prior to the biggest game of their lives.
In a recent submission to The Players' Tribune, Fowler explained the team's pre-game-ing session.
"An hour or so before the first pitch — in what would be the biggest game of all our lives — my teammates and I were back in the clubhouse … all huddled together … Playing Mario Kart. At first it just started out with a few guys. But before long everyone was in on it. No one wanted to lose, because it was one of those things like, you lose … you’re out. Next guy steps in for you. And the crazy thing was, it seemed like each guy had the best Mario Kart races of his life that night. Riz, Tommy La Stella, everyone was at their career-best level. It was impressive. In retrospect, maybe that was a good omen. I’m not saying that Mario Kart was the key to our trophy or anything. But, you know, a few hours later we were world champs."
[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]
Although the team came across more than a few banana peels throughout the game, Rajai Davi's two-run, game-tying home run in the bottom of the eighth being one of them. Ultimately the Cubbies got star power at just the right time in extra innings to claim the organization's first title in 108 years.
If you love video games and Chicago sports you'll likely recall a similar Mario Kart pregame ritual that helped fuel the Blackhawks to winning the 2010 Stanley Cup.