When Big Pharma finally releases the long-awaited chill pill, they should name it after Joey Votto (I will also allow Vottoium, Vottox, or Ativotto). The Reds first baseman is in the throes of an implacable temper tantrum, and if he doesn’t R-E-L-A-X pretty soon, he’s gonna spontaneously combust in the middle of a game. This became apparent on Tuesday night, when Votto publicly shamed a Reds fan for pulling a Steve Bartman:
He was courteous enough to apologize to the fan, going as far as to sign that apology onto a baseball (presumably at the behest of a flustered Reds PR flack), but still: This wasn’t exactly Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, when Bartman’s interference may or may not have triggered a chain of events that doomed the Cubs’ World Series hopes. This was a regular-season contest, it’s early August, and there is very, very (very) little at stake for the 43–62 Reds, who find themselves 21.5 games out in the NL Central. The poor fan just wanted to leave the game with a souvenir, and Votto gave him a death stare.
On the sheepishly delivered apology ball, Votto thanked the fan “for being so understanding when I acted out of character.”
But this wasn’t remotely out of character for the infamously bratty 32-year-old. Again, Votto has had no chill for quite some time. Recall his shameful destruction of a Dodgers fan’s paper airplane back in May:
Baseball fans of America: Votto has no time for your tomfoolery. He’s too busy racking up the worst stats of his career (not counting his injury-shortened 2014 campaign), raking in the dough, dropping F-bombs, and … taunting the shit out of you:
In fact, Votto’s anal-retentiveness has carried over into the batter’s box. (His cup must be made of steel!)
Unless you’re willing to bellow Votto’s name for the duration of the game, be prepared to feel his wrath. Remember when he persuaded umpire Ángel Hernández to eject a Pirates fan from PNC Park over some harmless heckling?
It’s weird that he had that kind of influence, BECAUSE JOEY VOTTO IS NOT EVEN THAT NICE TO UMPIRES. Last year, he served two suspensions for umpire altercations, single-handedly debunking the Polite Canadian stereotype.
You’re thinking, Everybody has their moments with umps, or overzealous fans, but Joey Votto knows that baseball is a church of wonder for kids. He knows the children are our future.
Yo, Joey: You make $20 million per year. You are one of the most beloved athletes in Cincinnati history. You get to play baseball for a living. Lighten up! And maybe rejoin your senior citizen pals at the Sarasota, Florida, YMCA. If swimming in a pool with octogenarians doesn’t make you the NL MVP again, it should at least help you relax.