Fox said he had food poisoning, and placed the blame on his Saturday night dinner — a steak with macaroni and cheese and creamed spinach from an undisclosed restaurant.
Fox’s stomach didn’t feel great when he woke up on Sunday morning, but he ignored it and went to the park. He tried to eat breakfast in the clubhouse, didn’t have the appetite and, after eating a few eggs, threw them away.
He told himself he would eat later and proceeded with his normal game day routine — a mix of fielding, bunting and hitting. But the closer it crept to game time, the more his stomach started to cramp.
Fox looped in a trainer about 15 minutes before first pitch and drank some Pepto-Bismol. But the trainer warned Fox that he probably would have to throw up at some point; the two hoped Fox would be in the dugout when it happened.
“As I’m stretching, I could feel my body — it’s not me,” Fox said. “I feel weird. I’m playing catch with [shortstop Alcides] Escobar and we’re playing and I’m not even reaching him [in the air].”
Fox said he never wants to come out of a game, so he tried to block out the feeling of uneasiness. But when the team ran onto the field, his stomach kept cramping — and on his final warm-up throw, he bent down.
By the second pitch of the game, Fox knew he was in trouble.
“I’m like, ‘Aw, man, please don’t tell me it’s what I think it is,’ ” he said to himself. “So in my head I’m like, ‘Do I call time?’ I’ve never been in this position before. I know I can’t wait for three outs.”
After two pitches, he called for a timeout and went through two options in his head: run to the visitors’ dugout, which was closer, or run across the field to the Nationals’ dugout. Fox chose the latter but couldn’t make it. He can still hear, and laughs about, the crowd’s reaction when he plays back the moment in his head.
“I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that just happened,’ ” Fox said.
Fox was still recovering early this week. As recently as Monday morning, he was still cramping, but started to feel like himself by Tuesday. Because he hadn’t been able to eat, he has lost some weight and was working to get himself back to where he was.
Some friends and loved ones checked in on him — and once they knew he was okay, they laughed, too. He said he enjoyed some of the social media posts on the moment, though he didn’t look at too many of them. Fox saw some tweets suggesting he might have drank too much the night before, and shut that down immediately.
“It just shows that this is my competitive spirit,” Fox said, “and I just want to do anything I can do to help my team win.”