Joey Votto conducts interview dressed as Canadian Mountie (Video)

Joey Votto really broke out of his shell during a funny interview Tuesday with MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” in which he actually dressed as a Canadian Mountie.

Votto has struggled with anxiety and panic attacks during his career and hasn’t always been known as a charismatic, media friendly-guy. But he certainly did some work changing all of that by showing off his personality.

Just hearing him ramble about his horse, “Nibbles,” was pretty hilarious.

And if you’re wondering what the full story is behind the costume, it came about during spring training when “Intentional Talk” Photoshopped a picture of Votto in a Mountie costume into a photo of Chris Rose dressed as Bret Michaels. Votto made that come true in real life.

Joey Votto Canadian Mountie

Well done, Joey. Well done.

Brandon Phillips: $72.5 million contract from Cincinnati Reds a ‘slap in the face’

brandon-phillipsBrandon Phillips signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds last April that should keep him with the team for the remainder of his career. Most players would kill to receive that kind of financial stability, but the context in which Phillips agreed to the extension has left him with a foul taste in his mouth.

In a recent interview with Cincinnati Magazine, Phillips said the fact that Joey Votto was given a 10-year, $225 million contract from the Reds makes the $72.5 million he received feel like a “slap in the face.”

“I just feel like they didn’t have to sign Joey to that contract,” Phillips said. “He still had two more years on his. And for (the front office) to go out there and sign him before they sign me, and they knew I was going to be a free agent? I understand Joey’s a good player. He’s one of the best players in this game. But I feel like I am too. I told them that this is where I wanted to be. I begged them. I told everybody I want to finish my career here. And then they give someone a contract who didn’t ask for nothing?

“To this day, I’m still hurt. Well, I don’t wanna say hurt. I’ll say scarred. I’m still scarred. It just sucks that it happened. For (Castellini) to sign somebody for $200 million, there must be a new vegetable or fruit coming out that we don’t know about. For him to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money, that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face … But how can someone slap you in the face with all that money. It’s a nice slap in the face.”

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Carlos Gomez robs Joey Votto of home run to save game for Brewers (Video)

Carlos-Gomez-robs-home-runFor a few seconds on Monday night, it looked as though Joey Votto may have launched a two-run home run to put the Cincinnati Reds up 5-4 over the Milwaukee Brewers in the top of the ninth inning. Carlos Gomez got in the way.

The Brewers center fielder timed his jump perfectly and robbed Votto of a home run, saving the game for Milwaukee and closer Francisco Rodriguez. Robbing a home run is exhilarating enough, but Gomez said taking one away to save the game is just as great a feeling as a walk-off hit.

“When you save the game like that or when you hit a walk-off home run, it’s amazing,” Gomez said, per the Associated Press. “I never hit one, but I steal home run to win the game. It’s something special, like you can’t wait to get home to see it over and over.”

Votto could do nothing but tip his cap.

“The whole thing is really a random occurrence and it’s what makes baseball so special,” the Reds slugger said. “Carlos has had a fantastic year this year. Today he didn’t have a good game offensively and he goes out and makes a game-changing play on the defensive end. You know, I did everything I could, and he made a great play.”

Gomez’s amazing play wasn’t the first game-saving catch we have seen this year, but it very well could wind up being the best.

H/T Big League Stew

Dusty Baker: Joey Votto needs to control his temper, stop cursing

Dusty-Baker-Derek-Lowe-drinks-at-ballparkCincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was incredibly upset with himself after he struck out in his first at-bat against the Cleveland Indians on Monday. He let his emotions get the best of him and tossed out a few expletives, which were unfortunately picked up by the television microphones. This did not make manager Dusty Baker happy.

“I understand (his frustration),” Baker said after the game, via Cincinnati.com. “I have a son that idolizes him. Sometimes an open display of displeasure is not a good example, whether you come through or not later. Joey is the face of baseball.

“I’d like to see him temper it a little bit.”

Votto later came through with a huge two-run homer in the 8th inning that broke a 2-2 tie and resulted in a 4-2 victory for the Reds. Like a disappointed parent, Baker made sure to let his All-Star know that his outburst was unacceptable even on a day where he played the hero.

Baker also said on Monday that he wishes Johnny Cueto and Matt Garza could be locked in a room together to fight it out after Garza ripped Cueto for throwing over David DeJesus’ head on Sunday.

“Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with,” Baker said. “I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it’s over with. I’m serious about that.”

Baker’s comments about Garza and Cueto fighting may sound contradictory when compared to his remarks about Votto’s outburst, but he did say to lock them in a room. I doubt he minds Votto swearing in the clubhouse, he just doesn’t like when it ends up on TV for all to hear.

H/T Hardball Talk

Joey Votto hasn’t popped out to the infield this season, and other insane stats

Prior to his NL MVP season in 2010, there were many baseball fans who had never heard of Joey Votto. The Reds first baseman is one of the best hitters in the National League, and he’s off to a hot start once again this year even after signing a whopping 10-year, $225 million extension. In addition to a .315 career batting average, Votto’s career has also been highlighted by some insanely unique stats.

As Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci pointed out, Votto has played in 55 games this season and has yet to pop out to the infield. Over the past four seasons, he has popped out to the infield three times in well over 2,000 plate appearances. But that’s not all.

Perhaps even more baffling is the fact that Votto has pulled a foul ball into the stands only once during his major league career. Some players do this two or three times in an at-bat, but Votto has supposedly done it one time.

“Sure, I remember it,” he said. “It was my rookie year. It wasn’t that deep — and maybe 20, 30 feet foul. I haven’t hit a long home run foul in my whole career.”

Both stats are exceptional, and both are related to the fact that he rarely ever gets out in front of a pitch and always manages to stay back on the ball. Of the nine home runs he has hit this season, only two have been pulled into the right field seats (Votto bats lefty). He is also batting .300 when he falls behind in the count, whereas the rest of the league is hitting .198 in that situation.

So what does it all mean? We’ve seen the shift for a number of great hitters like David Ortiz, Jason Giambi, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carlos Pena. At what point do teams throw the reverse shift at Votto? The guy has pulled one ball foul his entire career. What other reason do you need?

H/T SI Hot Clicks
Photo credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Reds Locking Up Core Players: Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto Get Extensions

The Cincinnati Reds have been busy signing their (mostly) young talent to multi-year extensions this offseason. In December, pitcher Bronson Arroyo signed a three-year deal that will take him through the age of 36. He’s the only player the Reds extended that’s over the age of 27. Shortly after extending Arroyo, the Reds signed 23-year-old Jay Bruce and 27-year-old and reigning NL MVP Joey Votto to six and three-year deals, respectively. On Thursday, the Reds signed pitcher Johnny Cueto, 25, to a four-year deal and are reportedly pursuing an extension with 27-year-old pitcher Edinson Volquez.

The moves signal that the 2010 NL Central champs are serious about contending for the foreseeable future. Since arriving in Cincinnati in 2006, Arroyo has won at least 14 games four times, including a career-high 17 last season. Arroyo also won a Gold Glove last season. Cueto went 12-7 last season with a respectable 3.64 ERA. Bruce hit 25 home runs last season, though 19 of those came at the Great American Ballpark — about as hitter-friendly a park as you’ll find. The main concern with Bruce is his strikeout numbers; he’s had more than 100 twice in his three major league seasons, and a career-high 136 last year.

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Joey Votto Misses Point of All-Star Game

Here at LBS, we were pretty impressed with Marlon Byrd‘s heads-up play that helped the National League win its first MLB All-Star Game in 14 tries. In theory, the play was beneficial for every NL player in that it helped lock up home field advantage for their league in the World Series. Everyone was thankful Byrd made the play, right? Nope.

Joey Votto refused to congratulate Byrd because he dislikes him and his division rival — if you can even call them that — the Chicago Cubs. Talk about classless. Here’s proof that Joey Votto doesn’t like Marlon Byrd, courtesy of Big League Stew via ESPN Chicago:

I don’t like the Cubs,” Votto said. “And I’m not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. But because he made that really cool play, it turned out to be a really cool experience. I’m really glad we got the win today.”

We get it, Joey. You’re “Mr. Cincinnati Red.” You’re the most dedicated player on either All-Star roster. Yankees and Red Sox can get along for an evening and share a few laughs, but you aren’t going to put on any type of act. Maybe fans should have left him off of their final vote ballots because he obviously missed the point of what it means to be selected as an All-Star. Here’s hoping no one forces you to attend to the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, Captain No Fun.

Reds’ Votto dislikes Cubs, disses All-Star teammate Byrd [Big League Stew]
Byrd helps NL with bat, glove [ESPN Chicago]