The Chicago Cubs were dead in the water down 3-1 in the 2016 World Series.
They had just lost a critical Game 4 at Wrigley Field and faced elimination the next night. The Cubs managed to win Game 5 at Wrigley Field, extending the series and eventually winning it all.
The story of the Cubs using the classic movie series “Rocky” as motivation has been told but now a new wrinkle has been revealed.
In Tom Verducci’s upcoming book “The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse,” he reveals some new details about the hours leading up to Game 7.
Here’s what he writes via SI:
An hour before the seventh game of the World Series, Rizzo stripped off all his clothes, cranked the theme from Rocky on the clubhouse stereo one more time, jumped on top of a coffee table, and began quoting lines from the movie and throwing his best shadow-boxing punches. Pitcher Hector Rondon, joining in on the hijinks, picked up an aerosol can of shoe cleaner and sprayed it in the direction of Rizzo’s groin.
Startled and angered, Rizzo stopped and yelled, “What the heck, man!” He cut the music and stormed off toward the showers to clean off the spray. “I’m thinking, Dang, what’s he doing?” Ross said. “We can’t have this negative vibe right before the game. I go by there. I can tell he’s a little irritated.”
Ten minutes went by. Rizzo finally emerged from the shower. He walked back silently to his locker with a towel around this waist. The room was quiet and uneasy.
Ross walked up to Rizzo and broke the silence.
“Hey! It’s not how many times you get knocked down. . . it’s how many times you get up!”
Rizzo chuckled. “You know what?” he said. “You’re right!” Said Ross, “He rips the towel off, runs up, turns the music on again, and he jumps back on the coffee table and starts doing the Rocky motions again.”
Whatever works I guess.
Luckily for the Cubs it worked and the team will enter the 2017 season as defending World Series champions for the first time since 1909.
Verducci’s book will be released later in March. Make sure you check back with ChiCitySports for your chance to win a copy!