Apr 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) talks with manager Bryan Price, right, prior to a game with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Votto's Personal Hell

“Personally it was hell, it rocked my world.” -Joey Votto.

Joey Votto went though a personal and mental hell most people will never go through on the stage that he did. The future and face of a franchise scared to be alone, scared of staying at his own place by himself, needing to be helped off the field because he panicked. That was Joey Votto’s life following his fathers death in 2008.

On August 9th, 2008 Joey Votto’s world turned upside down. His father who taught him baseball at a young age, a father who always supported his son in his baseball endeavors passed away unexpectedly at the age of 52.

Any son losing their father will be devastated, for Votto it was a crushing blow. A blow that Votto could not wrap his head around, how could he be gone just like that? From that point on Votto struggled on the field, his mind was in Canada with his family.

In the months and year(s) following his fathers death Votto suffered sever panic attacks. Having to be removed from games and helped off by then manager Dusty Baker. Votto could be seen on multiple occasions over the course of 2008 and 2009 struggling to breathe in the dugout. He never looked quite like himself and everyone knew it.

When Votto went on the disabled list for personal reasons the fans knew something was wrong, the extend of what was wrong will probably shock fans.

“I was depressed. I had multiple occasions where I was taken out of games with panic attacks.” Votto told MLB Network in a sit down interview. “The silly thing was, I was doing great on the field, but it was hell. There were multiple times I was alone and I felt I needed to call 9-1-1.” Votto struggled in dealing with his fathers sudden death. Mentally he was rocked to the core, much more than anyone really thought.

The extent that it rocked Votto may surprise some fans. “I wanted to quit often. Being on the field sucked, I hated it. I hated being on the field for multiple years.” said a now strong Votto.

In 2010 Votto won the NL MVP award, the highest honor a national league player can attain. Votto didn’t feel like 2010 was that special, on the field and off. He essentially said he went through the motions to get through the season. While the entire country thought Votto was some robotic hitter inside he was an emotional wreck. When he accepted his award in New York City at the end of the season he said he wished his father was there to see it.

Following 2010 Votto received professional help, he has turned his life around. It is showing too, in 2014 we have seen a new Joey Votto, a personable, funny, out going Votto.

He is on a tear since moving to the 2 spot a week ago. 8-17 with four home runs.

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto

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