A lapse in judgment, sure. A rather dumb thing to say, absolutely. Unforgivable? There’s no way.
Joey Votto, a baseball superstar in every sense of the word, recently clarified his harsh comments that he made several months ago on the state of Canadian baseball. Votto, a native of Etobicoke, Ontario, told reporters on the Yahoo! Sports podcast that he doesn’t “care almost at all about Canadian baseball,” and that he paid no attention at all that fellow Canuck James Paxton threw a no-hitter on Canadian soil.
During the All-Star festivities Monday in Washington, D.C., Votto explained himself, telling reporters:
“It was one of those scenarios where I made a mistake, I tried to make it right and then I can’t do anything more about it. People make mistakes, I did the very best I could and after that I can only say so much. I felt fortunate that I was given the opportunity so quickly to at least attempt to make it right, whether it’s through social media or through print or news media. I felt a debt of gratitude to everyone, all of you, to be able to (speak) publicly really quickly and try to make it right.”
Full transcripted quote courtesy of Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca
Look, I’ll be frank in saying that I was a bit shocked upon seeing Votto’s very name mentioned in the same negative breath as Canadian baseball. Since his arrival on the MLB scene, the Cincinnati Red has been nothing but a positive ambassador for baseball in Canada, consistently serving as a role model for young ballplayers north of the border.
Following a period of cooling off, Votto quickly realized that his words, no matter how insignificant he thought they were, had a profound impact on the baseball community of this great country. I have no doubt in my mind that Votto’s comments, while rather bluntly delivered, were relatively well-intentioned.
Granted, I always try and look on the bright side of situations when it comes to professional athletes slipping up in media appearances. Perhaps delusionally, I interpreted his comments as shutting out all international baseball for the sake of maintaining competition and devotion to his major league baseball club. When put that way, Votto doesn’t seem like a villain to this sport in Canada, but rather an uber-competitive, team player who knows how to put his blinders on and do his job to the fullest of his abilities.
I’m not even sure if this much reading into these comments is necessary at all, but I guess that just shows the true impact that this man has on the status of baseball in this country – and he seems to understand now, at least, we’re led to believe he does.
Regardless of how you took his comments, Votto remains to be one of the most influential people in Canadian baseball. His legendary numbers, contagious enthusiasm and unmatched ability make it difficult to imagine being a Canadian baseball fan without him.
While it’s clear that he’s learned his lesson, it’s important for us to remember that athletes, just like all of us, are human beings, perfectly capable of making mistakes and being forgiven for those mistakes. Joey Votto made a mistake. He owned up to it, and now we’re ready to forgive him. Personally, I’m ready to go back to being a Joey Votto fan. How about you?
(Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)