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.

13 Responses

  1. francijx

    A guy can be a leader without a captain badge. I don’t see the need for it, in fact, I think it says more about his leadership to do these types of things without the designation of “captain”.

  2. Matt WI

    Just when I thought I had a hold on this whole man-crush thing. 😀

  3. Drew Mac

    The whole captain thing cannot be forced. Not every team will have one and many teams have them without the formal designation. I think it is too early to go this route. Wait a couple of years, if the Reds have won a playoff series by this time and Votto has joined the ranks of the thirtysomethings, then make him the captain.

  4. Steve Mancuso

    Hank Aaron, about being named captain of the Braves: “I still can’t get over being named captain of the Braves. I used to dream about being the captain of a major league baseball team when I was a boy in Mobile. This is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received in baseball.”

  5. rfay00

    You would think the manager would be the “captain” but I think the city of Cincy would burn the stadium down if Dusty Baker was the “captain” of anything.

    • Bill Lack

      You would think the manager would be the “captain” but I think the city of Cincy would burn the stadium down if Dusty Baker was the “captain” of anything.

      Maybe the Titanic…

  6. Steve Mancuso

    Two MLB teams currently have captains: Yankees (Derek Jeter) and White Sox (Paul Konerko). The Red Sox had a captain (Jason Veritek) through last year.

  7. shifty

    Larkin had some good things to day regarding Joey (including the Spanish thing) on the Herd.

  8. Jeff

    Reminds us all a lot of the greatest: Barry Larkin; especially with learning Spanish. I think its only a matter of time before Votto is officially takes the title. Until then, whether it be a week or 2 years, he will continue to grow and mature.

  9. Redsfanx

    Good for Joey. He’s not only a great student of the art of hitting, but he’s learning a second language. Spanish not only expands our view of the world, but makes our own language more interesting. If not in name, certainly in reality, Votto is captain of the Reds.

  10. Y-City Jim

    Wow!!! What else can one say? What a class act.

  11. zab1983

    joey’s got enough cash, why not hire english instructors for the foreign guys? hmmmmm??????? lol nah, it’s cool as heck