All-Star pick provides kick for SS Cozart
Zack Cozart’s All-Star selection comes with a real kick: His own pet donkey.
The Cincinnati Reds shortstop had an agreement with teammate Joey Votto, who promised a largeeared animal as a reward for making the National League All-Star team. Having earned the honor for the first time, Cozart is looking forward to the four-hooved fella’s arrival.
“Who knows? It might even show up here,” Cozart cracked before the Reds began their current four-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Monday.
He will wait for feedback from fans before picking a name. Cozart wants to stick to a baseball-themed moniker for the addition to his animal farm, which currently consists of two miniature Dobermans.
Cozart credits Votto for helping him gain late votes. Votto recently dressed up in a donkey costume on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk to entice fans to cast their ballot for Cozart, who finished about 86,000 votes ahead of Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager.
“When you get the former MVP to do stuff like that, it helps out,” Cozart said.
Cozart, hitting .320 with 9 home runs and 33 RBI entering Tuesday’s game, is surprised by the attention the story generated.
“It’s one of those things where it was funny at the time when it was brought up: ‘Hey, I’ll get you a donkey if you make the All-Star team,’ ” he recounted. “As the year went along, and playing well, and the voting came out, and doing OK in the voting, it started getting real really quick.”
Turns out, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t really spending all this time weighing the pros and cons of participating in Monday’s Home Run Derby.
His mind was made up a while ago. And when Judge finally did let everyone in on his secret — alongside teammate Gary
Monday’s news conference — it landed with maximum effect, conveniently enough, the day after the All-Star selection show aired on ESPN.
This is the entertainment business, after all, and why cram all the good stuff into one news cycle when there’s the opportunity to crank up the marketing machine to get a full 48 hours instead? Judge is the biggest thing going in baseball, and there was no way he was sitting out a nationally televised spectacle like the Derby. With the first-half frenzy around him, Judge must feel obligated to compete.
“I wanted to wait until the AllStar stuff went out,” Judge said. “My 100 percent focus was on the team and what we were doing on the field.”
Judge, as the top vote-getter in either league, is a guaranteed ratings bonanza. He’s going to bring eyeballs Monday night, and if MLB is able to set up the event to create a final showdown between Judge and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, well, those two rookies may save the sport all by themselves.
Judge doesn’t have to do anything extraordinary to hit home runs. When he exerts that amount of force on a baseball, that’s just what happens.
“It’s just another round of BP, but in front of 50,000 people,” Judge said.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart’s selection to the All-Star Game means he’ll be the proud owner of a pet donkey, thanks to teammate Joey Votto.