MILWAUKEE -- Having just blown his consecutive saves streak and getting ready to rush to the hospital with his pregnant wife going into early labor, Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford took a few seconds to scribble a note to reporters explaining why he wasn't around to take questions.
At first, Axford said he was just trying to cheer himself up. When he finally got home, he realized he had caused a social media sensation.
"I didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal," Axford said Sunday morning. "I think originally, I just wanted to make myself smile a little bit, too. Right after I came in I was obviously pretty upset. But literally, once I got in the locker room and the inning finished, Tony, the clubhouse manager, said, `Hey, your wife's outside and needs to talk to you.' So my attitude changed immediately, and I realized there's more to life than what just happened out there on the field."
Axford's blown save against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night halted a streak of 49 consecutive saves -- the fourth-longest streak in major league history. The Brewers went on to win 8-7 in 13 innings, but Axford didn't stick around to see it.
His wife, Nicole, was sitting in the stands and began having contractions. Axford said she is 33 weeks into her pregnancy, and had a similar issue around the 29-week mark with the couple's first son, J.B.
Her doctor happened to be sitting in the stands about 10 rows away Friday, and recommended that they go to the hospital after a brief examination at the ballpark.
Axford left the following note near his locker:
"I put my wife into contractions with my performance tonight! So I had to run to the hospital. The streak is over so now you can talk about it. The luck I've had in the past didn't show up tonight! All I can do is begin another streak and keep my head up! Cliche ... cliche ... another cliche. Gotta go! Love, Ax."
Reporters relayed details of the note after the game, and pictures of it circulated via social media.
"My Twitter was blowing up pretty good after I got back from the hospital," Axford said.
More important, Axford said his wife is expected to return home from the hospital later Sunday. The couple is expecting their second son in late June.
"Baby's great and she's great," Axford said. "Everything's doing well. They just wanted to stop the contractions, stop the pre-term labor to make sure the baby gets a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger."
With more important things in mind, Axford couldn't be too upset about losing his saves streak. He joked that "the baseball gods are upset at me" after a recent shaky save in St. Louis.
"Looking back to see that it was more than a year that I went without a blown save, I'm just glad that I could hold down those wins and get those saves and get wins for the team," Axford said.