David Bote's family and friends had some incredible - and hilarious - reactions to his walk-off grand slam

David Bote's family and friends had some incredible - and hilarious - reactions to his walk-off grand slam

It was the type of moment that transcends baseball.

So many people who are not Cubs fans or not avid baseball followers saw David Bote's grand slam Sunday night and were moved by the excitement and drama of it all.

Bote has had a whirlwind couple of days since that epic moment, which will go down as one of the most memorable plays in Cubs franchise history.

His celebration was iconic, but how his family and friends took in that moment may have been just as good.

Bote and his wife, Rachel, live right near Wrigley Field with their two kids. Rachel initially did not have Sunday's game on the TV, but flipped it on three pitches into her husband's at-bat, as David recounted to Kelly Crull in a 1-on-1 interview Tuesday:

"She had a really cool perspective," Bote said. "She just turned on the game and it was 1-2, because she knew it was kinda getting toward the end of the game. She realized I was up and she's like, 'Uh oh, I've missed all these things.'

"We can see Wrigley Field from our apartment. She watched the rest of the at-bat and she opened the door just to kinda hear what was going on. She watched the hit and then she heard Wrigley Field erupt and she took a picture of Wrigley Field, bright lights and just listening to the crowd singing, 'Go Cubs Go' and screaming and she could watch it on TV. 

"So it was kinda cool. Because she's had to grind it out with us as well — six years in the minors. So for her, she goes, her words were, 'Sometimes baseball gives you a moment to just sit back and enjoy.' So it was really cool to hear her say that."

Their 2-year-old daughter, Shayli, was happy for her dad, but had more important concerns:

"My daughter was very nervous about the jersey-ripping," Bote laughed. "She called it a 'sweater.' I mean, I answered that question like 70 times. 'What happened, Dad?! What happened?!' I'm like, 'It's OK!'"

Bote has heard from a lot of different people after the grand slam, including hugging Bill Murray on the field. He also received text messages from David Ross and Ryan Dempster and got admittedly "geeked out." 

"I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, Ryan Dempster and David Ross texted me??'" Bote said. "I think it's so cool. They're such good dudes."

When told about Theo Epstein's reaction that he got more texts about that grand slam that after some of the World Series games, Bote was speechless for a moment before getting back into the team-centric mindset.

"I don't even know what to say to that," he responded. "That's incredible. I'm blessed and humbled. Again, it's just one step towards what we're trying to do here — which is to be back in the World Series and win the final game.

"If that [win is] a catapult, then that's awesome. If not, then we're just taking it day-by-day. As cliche as it sounds, that is the truth of it."

Bote isn't on social media apart from a private Facebook account. He tries to keep it just for family and friends, but random people have reached out.

"I've had quite a few Facebook messenger messages from people," he said. "It was funny — someone said, 'I proposed and you made it that much more special.' And, 'It was my first Cubs game and it was a great win!' Things that you don't know you impact and that's cool to hear."

But life moves on. Bote was back at Wrigley field Tuesday afternoon for the Cubs' loss to the Brewers and yes, he had a new "sweater" from the team.

Though that won't keep his daughter's questions at bay.

"I guarantee she'll still ask about it tonight."

The rise of David Bote, as told by David Bote

The rise of David Bote, as told by David Bote

Five months ago, nobody would've blamed you if you had never heard the name David Bote. 

Now, he's hitting the middle of the lineup and starring for a team with the best record in the National League.

Bote was inserted into the lineup in the No. 3 spot Sunday afternoon and hit 5th in his next start Tuesday night. Both times, he responded with two-hit games.

Quite the rise to prominence from a guy who made his MLB debut about two weeks after he turned 25 and was never ranked on top prospects lists after the Cubs took him in the 18th round of the 2012 Draft.

[More: David Bote's unique perspective on the rise of the Cubs]

Even in his wildest dreams, did Bote think his own story would play out like this?

"Man, the little kid inside me would've said, 'You're out of your mind,'" Bote said. "But then in my own head, too, it's like, 'Let's do it.'"

After another big game in Tuesday's 5-0 win that included a two-run triple, an RBI single, a walk and run scored, Bote is now hitting .344 with a .436 on-base percentage and .983 OPS in 64 at-bats spanning 30 games with the Cubs.

Bote has racked up the miles bouncing between Chicago and the minors this season. He was called back up late last month when Kris Bryant had to return to the disabled list and has been a vital part of the Cubs equation the last two weeks, playing all over the infield and hitting all over the lineup whether he starts or enters as a sub.

In his first game back up in the big leagues on July 26, Bote hit a game-tying, two-run homer on an 0-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning, setting the table for Anthony Rizzo's walk-off two pitches later.

Last Friday, he entered the game as a sub and struck out in his only two plate appearances, but wound up making a game-saving play at third base by throwing out a Padres runner at home in a 5-4 Cubs victory.

Entering Tuesday's game, Bote had racked up the same WAR (1.1) on Baseball Reference as Anthony Rizzo, despite playing in 73 fewer games. 

"Bote's game has been so complete," Joe Maddon said. "...His prep is great. His demeanor, the slow heartbeat, everything about him. He's got the respect of that entire [clubhouse] already."

Bote credits Maddon and the Cubs clubhouse culture for making him feel comfortable from the moment he arrived during the series in Colorado in mid-April. 

They've let him be himself and he's thrived. At the moment, Bote might be behind only Javy Baez in Q-rating on the Cubs among the fanbase.

But his success is no suprise to David Ross.

Grandpa Rossy — who filled the same fan-favorite part-time player role with the Cubs — walked into Maddon's office in spring training in Arizona to let the Cubs manager know how highly he thought of Bote after a few conversations.

"David Bote revealed to David Ross that he kinda had what it takes to be a part of this group," Maddon said. "Bote is definitely his own man. No question about it. You can converse with him, he's gonna come back at you with a well-thought-out response. 

"He's definitely not wide-eyed. And I don't think peer pressure really matters in a bad way. He's not gonna conform to somebody else's methods just because they came after him strongly. Because he is a strong person himself, so I like all that about David."

Bote said he's always been confident in his own abililties, but it's gotten easier and easier to tap into that as he's matured and grown as a person and as a baseball player.

"To rely on my preparation and to know that I've prepared well enough to be confident, I feel like that's what the biggest change was over the last couple of years," Bote said. "Just seeing some things come together off my work — not even results, just how I've turned into a baseball player. Like, yes, I see where I've come and I can rest on the confidence I've built in that."

Bote acknowledged that he's grasped how quickly and passionately the Cubs fanbase has taken to him over the last couple months, but he also knows he can't ride the roller coaster of external expectations and opinions. His main focus is to stay true to himself and keep the respect of his teammates — his "brothers" — that he's earned.

Bote's physical development on the field can't be denied, with eye-popping exit velocity and a success story of the recent Launch Angle Revolution.

But the Longmont, Colo., native believes the true key to his rise lies between the ears. 

Throughout the seven years he spent in the Cubs' minor-league system, Bote credits the organization's mental skills department for how they've focused on a theme each year and gotten more and more concise as he moved toward "The Show."

"Just really honing in on being present and focus your breath and being able to control the things you can control and practicing mindfulness and being able to catch your mind drifting and bring it back," he said. "All sorts of incredible skills to practice so that when you are in there with the game on the line in the ninth inning, you're not overwhelmed by the situation because you've practiced to get back to where you need to be on this pitch.

"Not worried about what the story is around. Everybody wants to add a story to a thought. But if you could just have a thought for that thought and not put a story to it — like, 'This is a 2-0 fastball, if I hit a homer, we tie the game.'

"It's more — 'This is the pitch I'm looking for and I'm gonna put my best swing on it and I'm gonna let whatever happens, happen. And that way, you can stay centered in to what you have to do on that pitch."

Whatever he's been doing or thinking, it's working and the Cubs — and their fans — are all aboard the David Bote Hype Train and loving every minute of it.

Kris Bryant makes a special kind of personal history with 100th homer

Kris Bryant makes a special kind of personal history with 100th homer

Kris Bryant is now a part of the 100 Home Run Club.

The Cubs superstar connected on a line shot into the left-field bleachers Wednesday afternoon off Wei-Yin Chen. What's even more special is it came on the three-year anniversary of his first MLB homer.

"Couldn't have scripted it any better — first home run three years ago and now 100," Bryant said. "I guess it made it even more special. It was pretty cool. I know it took me a while to hit my first one, but pretty cool story to do it on the same day.

Bryant had trouble putting the milestone into words and said he forgot it was his 100th dinger as he was rounding the bases.

"I just feel really dang happy that I got there and hopefully there's many more," he said.

After a slow start at the plate in the power department (just 2 homers on May 1), Bryant has turned it on of late, sending balls into the stands four times over the last week.

He now has 6 homers, 16 RBI and a 1.001 OPS on the 2018 season. He also has 6 career postseason homers.

Bryant is the fastest Cubs player to 100 homers in franchise history, doing so in his 487th career game. Ernie Banks held the previous record (500 games).

"The sky is the limit," Joe Maddon said of Bryant. "The guy is dedicated, motivated, athletic, he's good, takes care of himself, [plays] multiple positions, MVP winner who does not care where you put him in the lineup, whether it's offensively or defensively. He's kind of the manager's dream."

As cool as it was for his own personal resume, Bryant did miss out on a special part of Cubs history, as he homered off Chen and not Phillies pitcher Adam Morgan:

Maybe the tickling helped Tuesday night?