Steve had an excellent post a couple of weeks ago, urging the Reds to name Joey Votto as the team’s “captain.” Certainly, I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiment of that post, and now we have more evidence that Votto is the perfect candidate for that honor:
“I was getting tired of running into situations when I couldn’t communicate with my teammates,” he says. “I’d like to befriend some of my teammates and become a better teammate in general. I think speaking the same language and understanding their perspective would help a lot.”
Votto hired a private instructor this past offseason and took up to five hour-long classes a week during the winter He hasn’t had time for all the classes since the season started, but he still spends part of nearly every day studying Spanish. He conjugates verbs, works with the Rosetta Stone program and recently has made a point of hanging with Latin teammates during pregame stretches.
“He really wants to learn and that really means a lot,” says teammate Wilson Valdez, who hails from the Dominican Republic. “When some players come to the States, they don’t know any English. He feels kind of sad about it. He likes to talk to (Aroldis) Chapman, but he doesn’t speak English. That’s one of the reasons he’s learning Spanish.”
Votto’s Spanish has come quite a ways in less than six months, too.
Dude is learning Spanish so he can be a better teammate and leader. Think about that. He doesn’t have to do this. Joey Votto is putting the effort into learning a new language for one reason: to help the Cincinnati Reds.
If this guy isn’t “captain” material, no one is.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.