Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto landed himself in hot water on multiple fronts when a Yahoo! Sports podcast released Tuesday featured the star slugger sharing critical thoughts toward Canadian baseball and the Reds.
Regarding the Reds, Votto said the team is off to “the worst start I’ve ever seen.” Cincinnati was 10-27 at the time and is now 14-29 entering Wednesday.
“It’s been noted in the past that this was historically one of the worst starts for this franchise,” Votto said on the podcast. There are so many people that are losing interest in our organization — and deservedly so.”
Votto told reporters Tuesday his comments about the organization were out of frustration and the he “overstepped my bounds.”
“I never want to be apologetic for anything I say,” he said. “But I think I may have been a bit overzealous with some of the things I said because I feel at the time we weren’t playing very well, and I was frustrated. Ultimately, I want what’s very best for the organization.
“I’m proud to wear a Reds uniform, and I look forward to doing that until the last day of my Major League Baseball career.”
Of Canada, Votto said he “couldn’t give a rat’s” about James Paxton’s no-hitter in Toronto earlier this month — the first time a Canadian has thrown a no-hitter on home soil. Paxton, the ace of the Seattle Mariners, is from British Columbia, while Votto is from Toronto.
“I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball,” Votto said on the podcast. “I wasn’t raised inside of Canadian baseball really. I’m coming up on half of my life being in the United States working and being supported by American baseball.
“As far as Toronto, and Canadian baseball, and the country of Canada, and [James Paxton] being Canadian, I don’t care at all.”
Votto has since issued a written apology via the Canadian Baseball Network.
“I was asked recently about James Paxton and his no-hitter on Canadian soil,” Votto began. “I am not sure how I could have been so ridiculously selfish and short-sighted in my reply.
“When asked about baseball in Canada, the Blue Jays and specifically this event, it took me back to the times and my resentment for not making Team Canada in high school, not being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school, or not being picked for the Olympic team while in the minor leagues.
“Clearly my reply came out of a side of jealousy for a Canadian baseball athlete being celebrated in the city of Toronto. It was an odd reply and one I am terribly ashamed of.”
Votto has twice played for Canada in the World Baseball Classic (2009, 2013). He has received the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year two times (2010, 2017) and has won the Tip O’Neill Award, given annually to a Canadian baseball player for “individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball” seven times.
“As I write this I am saddened that I was so flagrant with my remarks and more importantly that I offended so many people that mean so much to me,” Votto wrote. “I would not be where I am now without the efforts of so many Canadian baseball people and the fans of Canadian baseball.
“To James Paxton, the Blue Jays, the Toronto fans, the women and men all across Canada that work so hard to promote and support Canadian baseball, I am sorry for my selfish comments and I humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
—Field Level Media