- Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
- Analyst/reporter ESPN television
- Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”
The unknown, the uncertainty, the unseen surrounded Freddie Freeman in his isolation, haunting him, as we’ve all been haunted in this awful year, his fear germinating after he was informed in the middle of the summer that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Freddie and Chelsea, his wife, had been very careful, their bubble a moat, everything Lysoled and wiped and double-wiped. So how did the coronavirus invade their lives? Where was it? Was it in their home? Was it on the plane? How sick was he? How sick could he get? Would Freddie be able to play baseball in the season that was supposed to soon start?
But much, much more importantly, was his 3-year-old son, Charlie, infected? Was Chelsea infected? Would anything happen with the surprise pregnancy for which they had waited, hoped and prayed over years? Would everything be OK?
He was alone and trapped with all of those worries after midnight, and his skin was hot — so hot you could cook something on it, he thought. Freddie Freeman had never felt this sick before. He Googled and read something that if your temperature goes above 104, you probably need to go to the hospital. He read something else that if your temperature goes above 104.5, you were at heightened risk for seizures.
He took his temperature and saw the numbers: 104.5 degrees. Freeman thought about texting George Poulis, the Atlanta Braves’ athletic trainer who had informed him about his positive test, but it was 2 a.m. He thought: I need help.
Freeman got on his knees and prayed to God: Please don’t take me. We’ve got two little boys on the way. We’ve got a young family. We’ve got to get through this. He pulled himself back onto the bed, scared to go to sleep because he was worried he might not wake up, and pointed the infrared thermometer at his forehead again.
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