VOTTO RED-FACED OVER HIS ‘SELFISH’ SHOT AT CANADA
Cincinnati star says he is ‘terribly ashamed’ of comments made in Yahoo Sports podcast
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.”