Bob Elliott’s Baseball: Joey Votto’s actions have always spoken louder than his words


A couple of days after the tragic Humboldt bus crash, Joey Votto reached out asking if I might assist him purchase a Humboldt Sturdy T-shirt.

One-dimensional me, I contacted a couple of folks within the hockey world and a few baseball folks in Saskatchewan. No success. 

It did not matter. When the Cincinnati Reds visited the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis on April 27, there was Votto within the dugout, being interviewed by fellow Canadian Justin Morneau, the Twins’ Dapper Dan broadcaster sporting a blue go well with, whereas Votto sported a inexperienced Humboldt Sturdy shirt.

Earlier than that we noticed highlights exhibiting he wrote “#Humboldt Sturdy” on his cleats to lift consciousness within the early days of the GoFundMe web page.

After the carnage on Yonge Avenue, Votto wrote “Const. Ken Lam” on his cleats as a tribute to the Toronto police hero who ended the standoff with out gunfire. He despatched his cleats to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, who offered the game-worn cleats to Lam. 

The Etobicoke Rangers seniors baseball workforce is sporting new jerseys this season. They arrived final Friday, a mission absolutely funded by Votto, probably the most well-known Etobicoke Rangers grad of all.

When he started spending his winters in Toronto, Votto would work out Denny Berni’s Professional Educate Baseball. There are posters of Votto contained in the indoor facility the place, as a excessive schooler, Votto spent hours hitting till his arms bled.

Votto has his personal key to the place. Typically his exercise session will overlap with a peewee workforce or a bantam membership. When he is executed he typically hangs round and solutions questions from mother and father. On extra than one night time Canada’s highest-paid athlete offered someone a worthwhile perspective.

A daily on the annual Baseball Canada fundraiser, he and Andrew Albers have been the one 2017 Canuck main leaguers readily available this January.

Does that sound like somebody who would say, “I do not care virtually in any respect about Canadian baseball?”
Do any of those actions sound like a person who would truly imply, “so far as Toronto, and Canadian baseball, and the nation of Canada, and (James Paxton) being Canadian, I do not care in any respect?” as he mentioned in his Yahoo! Sports activities MLB Podcast.

Votto made these feedback to Yahoo’s Tim Brown two days into the Reds’ four-game weekend sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Votto additionally vented concerning the Reds’ poor begin to the season.

However the Canadian angle didn’t actually take off within the information cycle till Tuesday night time, which is when Votto contacted me and mentioned he would “attempt to make issues proper.”

Much less than 40 minutes later his apology arrived by way of e-mail and was posted on the Canadian Baseball Community.

I’ve learn on the Twitter machine folks mentioned it was advantageous work “for a publicist.” We doubt that.

Votto was fallacious with his words about Paxton, about Canada and about Canadian baseball. 

He apologized Tuesday and requested for forgiveness.

He went on Sportsnet’s Blue Jays pregame present earlier than Wednesday afternoon’s Jays-New York Mets sport and apologized.

And later, he answered questions on a convention name arrange by the Reds. 

It is time to transfer on. 

A former Canadian first-rounder despatched a textual content: “It is comprehensible why he can be upset about not making groups. We have all felt that sooner or later or one other. Profitable an NL MVP award is a heck of an ‘I informed you so.’ It is too unhealthy this occurred as a result of he has never actually been a man that relishes the highlight. He always believed in his skill, proper right down to his tireless work habits and excessive focus.”

Relating to the nationwide workforce choices, many areas of the nation — from Abbotsford, B.C., to Windsor Ont., to Montreal — can really feel missed at occasions. Within the case of Etobicoke, it typically feels missed. In additional than 40 years solely Greg O’Halloran, Warren Sawkiw and Henry Andrulis have been chosen for Canada’s nationwide workforce.

Moreover Votto, an Etobicoke participant will let you know main leaguer Shawn Hill, plus minor leaguers John Suomi, Connor Panas and lots of others, ought to have acquired the decision.

Throughout a sport in April, Joey Votto paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the Humboldt bus crash. (Stacy Revere/Getty Pictures)

I learn the place somebody referred to as Votto a traitor to his workforce. And what did Robinson Cano do for his workforce recently? We have all put our foot in our mouth. I used to do it on a regular basis on The Fan with Bob McCown. 

Here’s what I find out about Votto. He’s an intense workaholic with a information of the strike zone higher than some umpires. Six occasions he has led the Nationwide League in on-base share.

And one different factor, which most likely reveals probably the most about him: of any participant I have identified since overlaying the 1978 Montreal Expos, solely Roy Halladay and Pat Hentgen have handled those that helped them on the best way up with the identical respect.

Halladay was drafted in 1995 and that Christmas, he and his father stopped by the home of Bus Campbell, his pitching coach for 4 years, to put in a satellite tv for pc dish with the MLB package deal.

When Hentgen, a fifth-round choose, gained the 1996 Cy Younger award, he gave Jays scout Don Wilkie a Rolex watch inscribed with: “I would not have been right here with out you.”

Bob Smyth coached Votto with the Etobicoke Rangers, together with Votto’s draft yr in 2002. Votto despatched him a framed Reds jersey from his debut sport on Sept. 4, 2007.

When Votto performed for Canada within the 2009 World Baseball Traditional on the Rogers Centre, Votto flew Smyth to Toronto to look at. Votto stayed at dwelling and took the GO prepare to Union Station, giving his room on the 4 Seasons to Smyth, who frolicked within the foyer making an attempt to appropriate Derek Jeter’s swing. Votto then despatched Smyth a framed Canada jersey from the 6-5 loss to Staff USA when Votto had 4 hits and two RBIs.

He additionally flew Smyth on street journeys to see the Reds play and Smyth would sit within the foyer and clarify enjoying third base to a affected person Scott Rolen. Then the previous coach was off to Cooperstown to golf on Father’s Day weekend with Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith, Andre Dawson and different Corridor of Famers.

So to sum up our perspective of the feedback from a man we first encountered when he was in grade 11: He made a mistake and confronted the music.

 We’ll settle for the apology.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

18 − 13 =