- Hazen’s wife Nicole passed away in August 2022 after a battle with cancer
- Now, the D-Backs GM is paying tribute to her ahead of a World Series run
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
The Arizona Diamondbacks are headed to the World Series for the second time in team history. But a longtime member of the team won’t be there with them.
Team general manager Mike Hazen has been dealing with the loss of his wife, Nicole, who passed away in August of 2022 at the age of 45.
She had been in the midst of a two-year-long cancer battle against glioblastoma, an aggressive and rapidly growing brain tumor.
‘I’m missing the person who was supposed to be here with me, but I know she was with us the whole way,’ Hazen told Newsday after Arizona clinched the National League pennant.
The Diamondbacks will be carrying Nicole with them as they continue their dramatic and inspiring postseason run which brought them to the doorstep of a second world title.
Mike Hazen (R) is on the cusp of winning a World Series in the wake of personal tragedy
Mike Hazen, his wife Nicole, and their four children at Boston’s Fenway Park circa 2015
In their way is the Texas Rangers, who have home field advantage as the Fall Classic starts Friday night in Arlington.
Before the third game of the NLDS – a game Arizona won to complete a dramatic sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers – Mike and Nicole’s four sons threw out the first pitch.
‘It has been long. A lot of stuff has happened,’ Hazen admitted after Arizona clinched a playoff berth on Sept. 30.
‘There is somebody for me that is not here that was here six years ago that was a huge Diamondbacks fan. Was a huge Merrill Kelly fan. He was her favorite player.’
While Nicole was struggling with the illness, Mike was granted a leave of absence by the team.
Arizona helped him as best as they could. The Washington Post reported that front office assistants Amiel Sawdaye and Mike Fitzgerald helped with minor tasks. Manager Torey Lovullo and his wife Kristen also provided support to Mike and his family.
‘I don’t know how to express that gratitude to them ever,’ Hazen said, per ESPN. ‘I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know. I’ll never be able to say anything other than ‘thank you.’ A billion times.’
Hazen was supported by the team’s front office staff and manager Torey Lovullo (R)
Hazen told the Washington Post that he and his wife met in Boston in 2002 – while they were both out celebrating the Patriots’ playoff win over the Oakland Raiders in the infamous ‘Tuck Rule’ game.
With Arizona just four games away from a second World Series title, there was some hesitation that Hazen would be back.
Before returning to work, he asked each of his sons – John, Teddy, Sam, and Charlie – if they were comfortable with him returning to work full-time. He said that if there was any hesitation, he would have passed.
Hazen got back to work. Now, has the chance to finish what would be a crowning achievement in his career.