Joey Votto on 25 years of Raptors fandom, whether he can still dunk, the greatest Raptor debate, and more

Title: Joey Votto on 25 years of Raptors fandom, whether he can still dunk, the greatest Raptor debate, and more
Date: January 15, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis:  In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I interviewed Joey Votto about his 25 years as a Raptors fan, what it meant as a Canadian athlete to see the Raptors win the championship, whether he can still dunk, and more.

It’s easy to see why Joey Votto may be fond of Kyle Lowry.

Both players have come by their success in large part due to their ability to analyze their respective sports at a high level. Votto has mastered a low-mistake hitting approach, wasting few at-bats with unproductive hacks that produce infield flies but accepting whatever the pitcher offers, often resulting in a free pass to first base. Lowry, meanwhile, works opponents and officials, hunting any advantage that might tilt the scales in his team’s favour, whether it’s hurrying an inbound pass, sneaking in for a charge, or stripping a rebounder on his way back up to the basket. There is a subtlety to each of their approaches that requires a more careful accounting of their value than Votto’s RBI or Lowry’s PPG numbers provide.

Votto, like Lowry, has long been one of the faces of his sport in Canada. Votto was one of just 11 Canadians to make an MLB appearance last year and, more to the point, he’s been Canada’s best player for years. Lowry’s stature as one of the faces of basketball in Canada is an adopted one, but its primacy is no less obvious; Lowry is the longest-tenured and most important piece of the country’s only basketball franchise. Lowry may not have had to dribble on ice like Jamal Murray, the more suitable analog to Votto throwing balls against walls to get work in the cold as a young player, but the similarities run deep. Both players have at times been underappreciated, can be their own harshest critics and were no-brainers on lists of the best players in their sport during the last decade.

Of course, Votto’s also a life-long Raptors fan who was excited to follow the team’s 2019 championship run. And most life-long Raptors fans tend to be pretty big Lowry fans, too.

Check it out on The Athletic.

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