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Braves bond over Mario Kart during rain delay

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- As they waited through a three-hour, 12-minute rain delay during Tuesday night's win over the Pirates, several Braves players passed the time by competing in an intense Mario Kart Racing tournament within SunTrust Park's spacious home clubhouse.

The participants who played on the Nintendo Wii Switch included Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, Sean Rodriguez, Jim Johnson and Jace Peterson. They each played six races, and the winner was decided by who had the most points at the end.

Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- As they waited through a three-hour, 12-minute rain delay during Tuesday night's win over the Pirates, several Braves players passed the time by competing in an intense Mario Kart Racing tournament within SunTrust Park's spacious home clubhouse.

The participants who played on the Nintendo Wii Switch included Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, Sean Rodriguez, Jim Johnson and Jace Peterson. They each played six races, and the winner was decided by who had the most points at the end.

Full Game Coverage

"We love it, and it brings back the good 'ol days," shortstop Dansby Swanson said. "It is fun and competitive, and it's entertaining."

In most of the races, the winner was Markakis, who uses the character Princess Peach to navigate through the numerous racetracks. According to teammate Luke Jackson, Markakis' skills are top-notch, and he showed that during the rain delay.

"The best in the clubhouse is definitely Nick Markakis, as he is phenomenal," Jackson said. "[Eric] O'Flaherty is pretty good, Ender is good and Sean Rodriguez is an actual solid sleeper pick. But Markakis is probably clubhouse champ."

Markakis said he plays a lot in his free time at home. Yet, he said that the rain delay helped the team build more chemistry and lock in before resuming play.

"You've got to have some camaraderie in the clubhouse, and some fun other than baseball," Markakis said. "We are here for one thing, and we realize that, but when you have down time, you've got to have some things to do. It is just one of those things."

The love for Mario Kart has spread to others in the Braves' clubhouse. Pitcher Sam Freeman doesn't play the game much, but as he prepared to pitch the seventh inning once the game resumed, he kept himself calm by watching the competition unfold.

"We play during rain delays, before games and it is like a unique team-bonding experience," Swanson said.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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