He’s sorry. We’re sorry. Everyone is sorry. It’s the Canadian way.
Former MVP and Canadian native Joey Votto attracted negative headlines earlier this week when he appeared on a Yahoo! Sports podcast and said “I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball.” When questioned whether he was proud of fellow-Canuck James Paxton throwing a no-hitter — in Toronto, no less — Votto replied that he “really couldn’t give a rat’s [expletive] about” the achievement.
One day later, he’s backtracking hard.
In a statement released via the Canadian Baseball Network, Votto apologized for the remarks and attempted to explain his thought process.
I was asked recently about James Paxton and his no-hitter on Canadian soil. I am not sure how I could have been so ridiculously selfish and short-sighted in my reply.
When asked about baseball in Canada, the Blue Jays and specifically this event, it took me back to the times and my resentment for not making Team Canada in high school, not being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school, or not being picked for the Olympic team while in the minor leagues.
Clearly my reply came out of a side of jealousy for a Canadian baseball athlete being celebrated in the city of Toronto. It was an odd reply and one I am terribly ashamed of.
I get excited and feel honored every time I interact with the future of Canadian Baseball whether at a Baseball Canada banquet, the World Baseball Classic, or Pro Teach Baseball indoor facility in Etobicoke.
As I write this I am saddened that I was so flagrant with my remarks and more importantly that I offended so many people that mean so much to me.
I would not be where I am now without the efforts of so many Canadian baseball people and the fans of Canadian baseball.
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 has played his entire career with the Cincinatti Reds after they drafted him 44th overall in the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft, but could have been drafted by his hometown Blue Jays with the 14th pick — they took Russ Adams instead. Since then, Votto has been a five-time All-Star and was the 2010 NL MVP. He also owns seven Tip O’Neill Awards, given out to the best Canadian baseball player every year by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Votto represented Canada at the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic tournaments, but declined an invite to play in the 2017 event. He preferred to stay with Reds Spring Training in order to work on improving his play.