Well, just as I thought Manny Ramirez’s unlimited sushi and optional practice contract clauses were going to be the best baseball oddity of the day, Sports Illustrated drops this nugget on me:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 14, 2017
That’s right, Anthony Rizzo delivered motivation speeches based on the themes/songs/stylings of his favorite sports movies (like ‘Rocky’) … with less than all of his clothes on before games five, six, and seven of the World Series.
So that’s how they won.
The story is but one of (I’m sure) many hilarious anecdotes from Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci’s new book: The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse (which you can buy at that link while supporting Bleacher Nation in the process)!
An hour before Game 5, Rizzo had broken out his pregame inspirational and comedic presentation, quoting motivational lines from movies with no clothes on. The Cubs won, so Rizzo did it before Game 6, too. They won again, so he did it before Game 7 as well.
And to be clear, that’s just the setup to what happens next. Hector Rondon added some extra antics that had Rizzo “angry” and in the shower, before David Ross cheered him up enough to rip off his towel and finish the speech/routine.
Earlier today, Verducci posted an article of his own with some additional highlights and excerpts from his new book, and you should really check it out.
I want to share some of the stories, but I can’t even pick which ones to deliver. They’re all too good (and sometimes, all too scary).
To provide a couple of examples: You can read about why Aroldis Chapman threw six consecutive sliders to Jason Kipnis (remember that?) in the ninth inning of Game 7 … and I’ll bet you’ll be a bit surprised why Miguel Montero was the one calling for them. And you can also, naturally, read more about Jason Heyward’s now famous rain-soaked motivational speech.