Joey Votto issued an apology for his comments about Canadian baseball after being asked about James Paxton’s no-hitter performance. A pitcher with the Seattle Mariners, Paxton is from Ladner, Canada. On May 9, 2018, Paxton put his name in the record books. In front of over 20,000 fans in Toronto, Paxton became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter inside of the Canadian borders.
Originally from Toronto, Votto said in a Yahoo! Sports podcast that he “couldn’t give a rat’s ass” about Paxton’s accomplishment. Votto went on to state that he nearing half of his life spent in the United States and that he wasn’t really raised on Canadian baseball. The Cincinnati first-baseman went on to also say, “As far as Toronto, and Canadian baseball, and the country of Canada, and [James Paxton] being Canadian, I don’t care at all.”
It’s worth noting that Votto has played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013, both times coming after Votto established himself with the Cincinnati Reds. Votto even won the 2017 Lou Marsh Trophy, an honor given to Canada’s athlete of the year. Needless to say, Votto’s words struck a chord with some Canadians, especially fans of Canadian baseball.
In a letter to the Canadian Baseball Network, Votto stated that he remarks came from a side of jealousy for Canadian baseball. Votto added that he is ashamed of his comments about Paxton’s accomplishment and that he was saddened that he was so “flagrant” with his comments, resulting in offending a large number of people. Votto ended his letter asking for forgiveness from everyone that he offended.
Some may say that it is easy to see why Votto seems to be so negative in his comments. He is clearly suffering through another season of rebuilding in Cincinnati. Over the past three or four seasons the Reds have been rebuilding their roster with what seems to be an endless amount of young players. Throughout this multiyear rebuilding process, the Reds have sacrificed winning for player development. While there have been a few standout players in Cincinnati, such as Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, Luis Castillo, Alex Blandino and Jesse Winker, the attendance at Great American Ballpark has certainly suffered from the lack of winning baseball in the Queen City.