One of the more absurd storylines of this crazy season is the criticism Joey Votto has received from some corners, because he isn’t driving in enough runs for some ink-stained wretches and/or microphone owners. I’m not sure what it is about the culture of Cincinnati that makes print, TV, and radio guys want to attack the good players, while ignoring the real problems with a particular ballclub, but it’s a real phenomenon. It’s baffling.
Next time you feel like criticizing Votto, try to remember this: Joey Votto knows more about hitting than you. By all accounts, he works harder than anyone at perfecting his craft. Oh, and he just happens to be the best hitter in the National League.
Anyway, Votto responded to the critics:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yeah, sure, I hear the complaints and I think they are unfounded,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“People think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve switched my hitting approach in general, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m the exact same guy, the exact same greedy blankey-blank. I do other things, too. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in the top five in batting average om the top five in slugging. I just have to be more efficient with it because I get less opportunities, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s OK.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All I want to do is do what I can,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the 29-year-old first baseman who heard no complaints in 2010 when he took 91 walks and won the National League MVP. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes I take a pitch, but I might be timing a pitch and looking at it for a future swing. Sometimes I take a pitch in the middle of the plate and people say, Ã¢â‚¬ËœAh, man, how can he take that pitch with runners in scoring position?Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Well, if I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see that pitch why swing. And it might result in a better swing later in the at-bat and a better day in general.”
Go read the entire piece; it’s well worth your time, and there are plenty of other quotes from Votto in there, explaining his approach to the plate.
Count me in the camp that considers the Reds lucky to have Votto. Plus, I only hit .280 in Little League; who am I to criticize Votto’s hitting?
Never change, Joey Votto. Never change.