Okay, this is everywhere today, so I might as well place this here for posterity. First, go watch what happened:
I know we’ve all been discussing it ad nauseum today, but here’s how I addressed this situation in last night’s Recap:
Joey Votto leaned over into the stands to try to catch a foul ball, and a fellow with a Reds shirt on interfered with him, Bartman-style, causing Votto to miss the ball. In the heat of the moment, Joey grabbed the Reds logo on the guy’s shirt as if to say, “You’re supposed to be one of us!” It wasn’t a good look for Votto.
Joey realized it pretty quickly, and signed a baseball for the guy the next inning, then took some pictures and talked with him as the crowd cheered.
Here’s what that looked like.
Well, Votto had plenty to say after the game, taking full responsibility for his actions and generally admitting that he was in the wrong. Zach Buchanan has more in the Enquirer, and MLB.com has the video. Of course, they’re dumb about allowing videos to be embedded, but you can see Votto’s post-game interview here. Go check it out. Here’s a partial transcript:
“I made a big mistake by crossing the fan-field, or the stands-field boundary. I ended up semi-going into the stands to make a catch and I misplayed it and I took my frustration out on a fan. First of all, I should’ve made the catch regardless. He stayed in the stands, I crossed the boundaries and touched his shirt. I felt really bad about it afterwards.
“Randy is his name, I went up and saw him afterwards. He was generous enough to apologize at the time and afterwards. In retrospect, he’s not the one that should be apologizing. He’s just trying to catch a ball and here I am bullying him. In that instance, I don’t feel a responsibility to be … some sort of example or anything like that, but I do feel like to treat my fellow man with respect and I felt like I was in the wrong completely there so I was certainly regretful. He was forgiving and I would like to think all is good, and the guy ended up striking out, anyway, so it was a zero.”
I’m not sure you’d call his behavior afterward “classy,” but I think we can all agree that Joey Votto is unlike every other professional athlete in almost every way.
I know there have been a million hot takes about this already today, including some breathtakingly dumb ones*, and this post might contribute to all that noise. Sorry about that. This whole episode is just another way for everyone to project their already well-worn opinions about Joey Votto onto another news story.
*I just read a terribly stupid piece, which I refuse to link, and it caused me to put down my thoughts on the matter in print. Don’t blame me for being forced to wade through yet another Votto article today; it’s that other website’s fault.
My opinion: Votto was in the wrong, he realized it almost immediately, and did everything in his power to make amends. He’s human.
Except when he’s in the batter’s box. What Joey Votto does in the batter’s box is beyond the capability of normal humans. But at all other times, he’s human and he’s going to make mistakes. As mistakes go, this was a pretty harmless one, in my opinion. And Votto responded exactly how you’d want the face of your franchise to react after doing something dumb.
He’s still the best player in town. (With the possible exception of Billy Hamilton, of course.)