“The one night I was alone, the very first night I was alone, was when I went to the hospital. I couldn’t take it. It just got to the point I felt I was going to die, really.”
Joey Votto gave a detailed explanation of what has been a very serious condition plaguing him since his father’s passing last August. Votto has been dealing with depression and anxiety attacks that eventually forced him to the disabled list on May 30.
Votto’s father, Joseph, died suddenly at the age of 52 last fall. The Reds’ first baseman admits to suppressing his emotions while finishing out the season. Once the offseason came, Votto found himself alone in Florida with time to think.
“From the beginning of the offseason until Spring Training, I was pretty severely depressed and dealing with the anxieties of grief, sadness and fear and every single emotion you can imagine everyone goes through. I had a really difficult time with it. I was by myself down in Florida. I just was really looking forward to baseball.”
Once baseball season got underway, Votto again pushed the emotions to the back burner. He missed time in early May because of the flu and an ear infection. Without baseball as a shield, the emotions hit home once again, only more powerful.
“And they hit me 100 times harder than I had been dealing with all offseason.”
Votto had to leave a game early on three separate occasions after his battle with the flu. The last time was in Milwaukee on May 29. He was placed on the disabled list the next day.
“Milwaukee was by far the worst. I thought I was going to go crazy.”
Votto addressed his teammates last week about his situation before going on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. The courage it took to do so is unthinkable. Anyone who has been in a clubhouse before knows it is not a place for the thin-skinned. He then addressed the public last night before the game and went into great detail, much more than anyone has a right to know.
I have always admired Joey Votto. As a baseball player, his statistics speak for themselves. He is his team’s best player and the Reds have struggled without him. As a person, I have more respect for him now than ever.
The pressure of being a Major League baseball player is incredible. As a hitter, if you fail seven out of ten times, you are an all-star caliber player. Each day you must deal with people coming up with ridiculous accusations about your personal life. You must prepare to be screamed at, cussed out and humiliated in front of 30,000 people just because you made a mistake at your job.
Take all of that and toss in the sudden passing of a parent. To say it would be a lot to deal with is quite the understatement. It is a burden that I would not wish on anyone.
I don’t know what treatment Votto received or what medication he may have been prescribed, and I don’t need to know. It’s his business. I just know that it was great to see him back in the lineup last night.
Welcome back, Joey. We missed ya.