If there are three things we can count on, they are death, taxes and yearly All-Star snubs. Every year there are a handful and every time around, there is one King Snub who stands above all the rest. This year, Joey Votto wears that crown.
Votto entered today ranking 15th in Major League Baseball in batting average, tied for second in home runs and sitting 12th in RBI, yet his All-Star game hopes all hinge on a last-minute fan vote that ends this afternoon.
Still, he’s ranked first this week in publicity, topping anyone and everyone that is actually already on the All-Star Game roster.
Joey Votto joined The Fan 590 in Toronto with Jeff Blair to discuss the fanfare that has ensued following his snub, the Reds success and his battle back from depression.
On what it has been like to be the center of attention following the All-Star snub:
“It’s really a pleasant surprise to hear that people have recognized what I’ve done. When Justin [Morneau] came out and [supported me] that meant a lot to me because he and I speak every now and then. To know that I have the support of one of the best players in baseball that means a lot. And to hear other people mention my name and say that I’m deserving, I think that’s a pretty good accomplishment.”
On the fan voting process:
“It is pretty cool. I’m in New York right now and Cincinnati is a small-market team, so pretty much anybody not named Ken Griffey Jr. doesn’t get recognized and I remember last night, before I stepped into the box for my first at-bat, I heard some boos and a little more noise than normal. I suppose that’s kind of a compliment if you ask me.”
On whether the Reds can remain a factor for the long haul:
“I think so. I think that comes from the pitching staff we have. The guys we have 1-5 and the especially the guys who are going to be coming up through the minor league system, those are some pretty good arms. They’re the reason why we’ve had some winning streaks here and there, obviously. … And I think that we’ve got help on the way. We’ve got a pitcher by the name of Edinson Volquez coming back from Tommy John surgery and he’s a former All-Star and he’s my age, so he’s a pretty good guy to pick up. I think the teams in our division, whenever he comes back, are going to recognize what kind of force he is when he pitches.”
On Scott Rolen’s impact on the Reds:
“He had a hard time for a few years there with an injury and he really gutted it out and I don’t think a lot of people really took notice that he was playing through pain for a while there. This is Scott Rolen. He’s a former MVP candidate and Gold Glove winner, multi-time Gold Glove winner. He’s a leader, a champion, this guy is about to go to his sixth All-Star game and he’s playing like an All-Star and an MVP candidate. He’s definitely been, in my opinion, the most important player on the team. I know I’ve put up pretty good numbers, but when you consider that he’s essentially the leader on our team and the guy everybody looks to, that’s what you need.”
On battling back from depression that he fought last year:
“Last year I was performing just as well if not better before I had that run-in. I know that a lot of people want to say that, they want to trick themselves into thinking that because a player is playing well on the field means that his life is going well off the field. That wasn’t the case last year. I had a hard time because of my father’s passing and I think that anybody that’s lost anybody close or has been through something difficult in their life that they consider traumatic, I can speak for just about anybody that they know it takes time. This isn’t baseball, this is life and that’s something I went through. I feel like I’m making progress and I’m heading in the right direction.”