While fighting back tears, Chicago Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy detailed his fight against the coronavirus, which sent him into home isolation for 30 days.
"I felt it was important for me to talk through what I went through because too much of what's out there is the easy stories of what people go through with this," the 38-year-old Hottovy said on the Zoom conference call Wednesday after composing himself. "If my journey through this helps one person realize how severe this can get, and that can save one life, then I want my story to be heard."
Hottovy is unsure how he contracted the virus, saying he took all the usual suggested precautions like washing his hands often. Still, it was hard for him not to blame himself, feeling he put his wife and kids in harm's way.
"I went through some really weird stages throughout the whole process," Hottovy said. "Depression. Thinking that I did do something wrong. How could I put my family in that situation?"
Hottovy never had to spend a night in the hospital, but he did have a long day in one as he needed help with his breathing. At first, his symptoms came and went before his fever spiked.
"For 30 days, this virus, it was always worse at night," Hottovy said. "I wouldn't sleep from midnight to six in the morning. Then from 6-10, I'd get some sleep. Every night, I'd get up at 2 and my wife would still be cleaning. She had to bring me food and water every day."
Based on the severity of his symptoms, Hottovy was asked whether he believes it is feasible for baseball or sports to play anytime soon.
"I do believe having sports is important," Hottovy said. "At the same token, one little misstep, one little contact situation by one person, can derail an entire industry."
As many in the game have already stated, Hottovy believes it can only be successful if everyone is pulling in the same direction.
"I want to do everything we can to bring baseball back to the fans," Hottovy said. "We have to take care of ourselves and each other and hold each other accountable or it could easily get derailed."
Hottovy said Cubs pitchers knew of his ailment early on, and he couldn't always communicate to the best of his ability during Zoom calls as he'd be short of breath. But it's those pitchers -- and the rest of his team -- that he wants to be there for. He contemplated opting out of the season but ultimately decided against it.
"There are still guys that don't want to come anywhere near me," Hottovy said with a chuckle. "Them (Cubs pitchers) living that kind of experience with me hit home a little bit. When you know someone that gets it, it hits home, when it's significant. No one is immune."
Hottovy said he lost a lot of weight, gets winded easily and is still recovering, saying he's at about 80% right now. But he hopes the worst is behind him and is now telling an emotional, cautionary tale.
"It shows you how fresh it is for me and how I want to be here for these guys because they have questions," Hottovy said. "Their families have questions. I do think it's important for me and my family to be accessible to these guys."