CHICAGO — Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy could barely hold back the tears while describing his month-long battle with COVID-19.
“I went through some really weird stages throughout this whole process. Depression – thinking that ‘Did I do something wrong? How could I have put my family in that kind of situation?'” he said.
Hottovy decided to share his emotional roller coaster with the coronavirus for the first time Wednesday to illustrate how bad it can be, even for a 38-year-old.
“Too much of what’s out there is the easy stories of what people go through with this,” noted Hottovy. “Obviously it affects people differently, but if my story and my journey through this helps one person realize how severe this can get and that saves one life – I want my story to be heard.”
Hottovy is just two weeks removed from testing negative after 30 days in quarantine from his family.
“This virus for me was always worse at night. I wouldn’t sleep from midnight to six in the morning. From 6 to 10, I’d finally get some sleep,” he said. “I’d tried to sleep in the afternoon a little bit knowing that the nights were going to be awful. Every night I’d get up at like 2, go downstairs and my wife would still be cleaning. Every night for like 30 days. That was our decision as a family like hey, can we control this?”
They did. Hottovy’s wife and kids didn’t get it, but it wasn’t easy.
“What my wife had to endure for a month, you just don’t want to put anybody through that,” he said. “She had to bring my food every day. She had to bring me water. I had coolers in my room with ice just to make my own water and have drinks and stuff because we didn’t want to go out. I didn’t want to expose my family to it, especially with how extreme I had it.”
Hottovy had to Facetime with his kids to stay in touch. He used Zoom to keep up with his pitching staff, who could see what he was going through the whole time and how dangerous the virus can be.
“Them getting to live that kind of experience with me, I think hit home a little bit. Then, when the position players found out and a lot of them reached out to me, they asked a lot of questions. When you know someone who gets it, it hits home and it’s significant. It puts in perspective what we’re dealing with. No one is immune,” Hottovy said.
“You hear a lot of stories, they’re professional athletes, they’re in great shape, if they get it they’ll be fine, they won’t die. The rhetoric is always they’ll be fine, they’re not going to die. But people live with family members that are not in the same shape as them. They’re not professional athletes. They are potentially high risk individuals. What we have to wrestle with every day, is not only keeping ourselves safe and our team safe, but also what we can do to keep our families safe.”
Hottovy is all in to coach this season with baseball ramping up for training camp this week, but being careful should be paramount as players hit the field.
“I do believe that for society, having sports and having baseball, having them give hope to what we’ve all been dealing with — I do think it’s important. But, at the same token, one little misstep, one little contact situation by one person can derail an entire industry.”