Title: Baseball’s Most Underappreciated Star Joey Votto Continues to Evolve
Date: June 1, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about Joey Votto’s return to Toronto and his battle to provide as much value to a tough situation as he possibly can, even if that means growing outside of his comfort zone.
As Joey Votto entered the Rogers Centre on Tuesday, he did so with several trays of coffee, offering them to staff members as he entered the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse. Once Votto was safely behind closed doors, one staffer asked who had just offered him coffee. Here was Votto, the cause for increased media presence, the subject of a 16-minute press conference, and the recipient of his sixth Tip O’Neill Award as Canada’s best baseball player a day earlier, returning home and going unrecognized in the innards of his hometown stadium. Underrated as always, it would seem.
“I think he is,” Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin says. “He’s played on a team, it’s not a big-market team, I don’t feel like they get a lot of national coverage, and the last couple years, I don’t think they fared very well. But in the league, player to player, everybody knows how good this player is, how tough of an out he is.”
Votto’s stereotypical Canadian politeness would not extend to Toronto Blue Jays starter JA Happ a few hours later, nor would his momentary anonymity. Votto welcomed the lefty back from the disabled list by blasting a poorly placed first-pitch fastball 417 feet to center for a home run, his 13th of the young season. He’d hit his 14th the following afternoon.
That his Reds would drop both decisions to the Jays is fairly par for the course, and in fact the series throughout was the typical Votto experience: A reminder of just how good he is, a loss, a return to the relative anonymity his demeanor sometimes suggests he might prefer anyway, another reminder of just how good he is, another loss, and so on.