CHARACTER COUNTS

MLB feature showcases inseparable bond between Diamondbacks’ Hazen and Lovullo

Apr 7, 2024, 6:00 AM

Major League Baseball published a short-form documentary centered around the friendship between Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo, and MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince captured their connection through tragedy. 

Nicole Hazen, Mike’s wife, died in August 2022 due to complications related to her fight with glioblastoma, a rare type of brain cancer.

Mike Hazen announced a leave of absence in June 2021 as Nicole had been fighting the glioblastoma since May 2020. As the Hazen family faced tribulations surrounding Nicole’s cancer, the Hazen and Lovullo family created an inseparable bond.

“Really, that’s what (the documentary) was centered around,” Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “It was bringing light to this situation of glioblastoma and its effects on the human life and there’s no cure for it and it’s very destructive. I think Mike’s main message through the whole thing was A. we want to help others and B. I don’t ever want my wife to be forgotten and I want her story to be told. So that’s really what it came down to.”

Lovullo said the story was told “about as accurately as we possibly can,” and he has watched it “about four or five times.”

“Once (Mike) gave the OK and became as vulnerable as he was during those conversations, it was easy for me to follow, it was easy for my wife to follow, his kids did as well,” Lovullo said.

The feature takes viewers behind the scenes as Nicole fought for her life and family while the Diamondbacks spiraled to 110 losses in 2021. It continued through Arizona’s run to the World Series in 2023 and what that would have meant to Nicole. 

Nicole’s favorite number was four because she had four boys, Charlie (age 18), John (16), Teddy (15) and Sam (13) and her birthday was on the fourth. When the D-backs hit four home runs in the third inning of Game 3 of the NLDS, the Lovullo and Hazen family did not believe it was a coincidence.

“We were being gutted from the inside out as an organization,” Lovullo said. “Our leader was walking through something as tragic as you could possibly imagine. But we just pounded on. We just kept moving forward and Mike was an inspiration to us all and certainly, Nicole was driving us as well, even though she wasn’t able to talk or wasn’t able to do things like we knew that she could. She was soldiering on and it was an inspiration to us all.”

The Nicole Hazen Fund for Hope was set up to help patients access treatment and support. Contributions can be made to the Nicole Hazen Fund For Hope via credit card or via check.

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MLB feature showcases inseparable bond between Diamondbacks’ Hazen and Lovullo