VOTTO RED-FACED OVER HIS ‘SELF­ISH’ SHOT AT CANADA

Cincin­nati star says he is ‘ter­ri­bly ashamed’ of com­ments made in Ya­hoo Sports pod­cast

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - STEVE BUFFERY New York SBuf­fery@post­media.com

Even after he de­liv­ered his epic apol­ogy, the buzz in­side the Blue Jays’ club­house Wed­nes­day re­volved around Joey Votto and his an­gry out­burst di­rected at Cana­dian base­ball.

In fact, at one point, Mex­i­can­born pitcher Jaime Gar­cia ap­proached a Toronto re­porter to ask what Votto said to get so many peo­ple in Canada up­set.

It was clear the two Cana­di­ans play­ing for the Jays — pitcher John Ax­ford and catcher Russ Martin — didn’t want to com­ment on Votto’s out­burst.

Votto, a na­tive of Eto­bi­coke, Ont., ab­so­lutely railed against Cana­dian base­ball in an in­ter­view ear­lier this week on a Ya­hoo Sports MLB pod­cast, say­ing: “I don’t care al­most at all about Cana­dian base­ball. I wasn’t raised in­side of Cana­dian base­ball, re­ally. I’m com­ing up on half of my life be­ing in the United States work­ing and be­ing sup­ported by Amer­i­can base­ball.”

He took it a step fur­ther when asked about B.C. na­tive James Pax­ton’s no-hit­ter against the Blue Jays last week in Toronto.

“As far as Toronto and Cana­dian base­ball and the coun­try of Canada and (James Pax­ton) be­ing Cana­dian, I don’t care at all,” Votto said. “(Pax­ton) or the Jays or Canada in gen­eral may dis­agree with that, but I re­ally couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that.”

A day later, Votto, the 2010 NL MVP, couldn’t be more con­trite. In a post­ing on the Cana­dian Base­ball Net­work web­site, Votto — a two-time Lou Marsh win­ner as Canada’s ath­lete of the year, in­clud­ing last year — said he is “ter­ri­bly ashamed” of his com­ments, adding they were “ridicu­lously self­ish and short-sighted.

“I am sad­dened I was so fla­grant with my re­marks and more im­por­tantly that I of­fended so many peo­ple that mean so much to me,” Votto said.

Fur­ther to that, in a con­fer­ence call Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Votto de­scribed his com­ments as “cringe wor­thy,” in­sist­ing they do not re­flect how he re­ally feels about Base­ball Canada, his na­tive coun­try or Pax­ton.

“Just pure pet­ti­ness,” Votto said. “I’ve lost sleep over this. I just did ev­ery­thing wrong and it came from a bad place. So re­gret­ful. My com­ments were clearly, clearly silly and self­ish and ego driven. I’m so em­bar­rassed by what I said. Re­ally, my words couldn’t be less in line with how I feel.”

Votto played for Canada at the 2009 and 2013 World Base­ball Clas­sics and ac­cord­ing to Jays first base coach Tim Leiper, who was a coach for Canada at those tour­na­ments, the Reds star has al­ways been proud to play for his coun­try.

“His stay in Toronto dur­ing the (2009) WBC was one of the best times I’ve ever been a part of, know­ing what it meant to him, know­ing what it meant to come home and the type of game he had against the U.S.,” Leiper said. “He comes to the Base­ball Canada ban­quet ev­ery year, he’s a great per­son.”

In his apol­ogy, Votto ad­mit­ted to be­ing jeal­ous of a Cana­dian base­ball ath­lete (Pax­ton) be­ing cel­e­brated in his home­town.

“It was an odd re­ply and one I am ter­ri­bly ashamed of,” he said in his post.

Votto said part of the rea­son for his out­burst was his mis­placed re­sent­ment for not mak­ing Team Canada on oc­ca­sion or be­ing drafted by the Blue Jays, his home­town team.

“I go back to Toronto each off­sea­son and feel re­newed ev­ery time I cross the bor­der to my home and na­tive land. I would not be where I am now with­out the ef­forts of so many Cana­dian base­ball peo­ple and the fans of Cana­dian base­ball,” Votto said.

“To James Pax­ton, the Blue Jays, the Toronto fans, the women and men all across Canada that work so hard to pro­mote and sup­port Cana­dian base­ball, I am sorry for my self­ish com­ments and I humbly ask for your for­give­ness.”

Votto’s mea culpa was met with mixed re­ac­tion, though Leiper be­lieves Votto is com­pletely on the up and up in his apol­ogy.

“There’s no ques­tion. He’s one of the most sin­cere peo­ple I know,” Leiper said. “This guy played in the WBC for us com­ing off an in­jury after he signed a big con­tract. To me, that shows that he loves what’s go­ing on (in Canada) and to me that was a big deal. Just know­ing the guy and know­ing how he lives his life, know­ing who he is, those com­ments are to­tally con­tra­dic­tory to the way the guy lives his life. Pe­riod.”

Joey Votto

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