Grand-slam hero David Bote has made a name for himself among Cubs fans
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One moment, rookie David Bote was getting his jersey torn to shreds by Cubs teammates during an epic celebration after his dramatic pinch-hit grand slam Sunday against the Nationals.
The next, Bote was getting a hug from actor Bill Murray in the Cubs’ clubhouse.
David Bote, this is your life now. Not bad for an 18th-round draft pick in 2012 who was basically unknown a year ago at this time.
Bote’s magical mystery tour continues unabated, and everyone in the vicinity of the Cubs is getting caught up in ‘‘Bote-mania.’’ Everyone but Bote, that is.
‘‘One of the hitting coaches was saying, ‘Stay underwater,’ ’’ Bote, 25, said shortly after belting a two-out grand slam in the ninth inning to give the Cubs a 4-3 victory Sunday night. ‘‘ ‘Just stay underwater. Stay where you’re at. Just keep grinding.’ ”
Which means what, exactly?
‘‘Just don’t come up to the surface until the season is over,’’ Bote said. ‘‘Just stay the course. Don’t let what is going on outside affect what you’re trying to do inside. Underwater, basically.’’
The way Bote was received after his titanic blast against the Nationals’ Ryan Madson, you’d think he could walk on water. But Bote, who wasn’t on anybody’s radar when it came to the Cubs’ roster at the start of the season, figures to stay grounded.
‘‘I just like his self-confidence,’’ manager Joe Maddon said. ‘‘He does it in a way that’s not offensive. It’s not this braggart kind of a thing; it’s a humbled confidence. I promise you he’s not going to change. I don’t care how much success this guy has, he’s not changing. And he’s the consummate team player. All that shows through. Plus, he’s good.’’
Bote has been very good while often filling in for injured third baseman Kris Bryant. In 34 games, Bote is slashing .329/.418/.539 to go with his three home runs and 18 RBI.
‘‘He’s industrywide-known right now,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘His work ethic is spectacular. His skill level is high. He’s the kind of guy who gets overlooked and, based on his draft status, pretty much is not talked about often until he really does something spectacular. He’s one of those guys that he has to show it for people to believe it.’’
Bote’s slam was his second dramatic blast in the last three weeks. He hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning before Anthony Rizzo followed with a solo shot that gave the Cubs a 7-6 victory July 26 against the Diamondbacks. The celebration that day was raucous, but it didn’t match what greeted Bote when he arrived at home plate Sunday.
‘‘My jersey is in shreds,’’ Bote said. ‘‘Javy [Baez] pulled me down at home plate. I was like: ‘Man, I didn’t fall; Javy pulled me down.’ ’’