Liam Hendriks loses friend DJ Griff Gotti to COVID-19

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 01: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Ring Central Coliseum on August 01, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 01: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Ring Central Coliseum on August 01, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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The COVID-19 epidemic touched the Oakland Athletics family directly, as closer Liam Hendriks lost a friend to the virus on Thursday.

The coronavirus has touched Major League Baseball in unprecedented ways. The season has been postponed indefinitely, with rosters now frozen until spring training can begin again. Players want to play, with talks surrounding how late the season would be able to begin in order to get a full slate of action onto the calendar. Fans want something to distract from the constant barrage of depressing statistics and being locked down in their homes.

Yet, those worries pale in comparison to the human toll that the epidemic has taken. Friends and loved ones are falling ill, fighting a battle on an uncertain playing field. Everyone is anxious, fearing the worst while hoping for the best.

That human toll has been felt by the Oakland Athletics. On Thursday, closer Liam Hendriks shared an Instagram post about his friend, DJ Griff Gotti, who had succumbed to the epidemic at 39 years old. He was survived by his wife and 12 year old daughter.

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Every day, we see those statistics about how cases across the country are increasing, with the death toll rising. While we all understand how many people are impacted, the epidemic is like everything else – an abstract concept until it directly impacts each of us.

And now, that impact has been felt. Hendriks lost his friend to the virus, feeling those devastating effects first hand. He implored in his tribute that each of us takes the epidemic seriously, to stay home for all of our sakes, and for others.

Sometimes, that is what it takes for something to be given the seriousness it deserves. We see the warnings that think that it won’t affect us. That we won’t catch the virus. Those beliefs are all well and good, until it happens. By then, it could be too late.

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Our thoughts and well wishes go out to Liam Hendriks, and the family and friends of DJ Griff Gotti.

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