Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Joey Votto and the respect card

Photo: Getty Images

I posted video highlights of Joey Votto’s 2 for 2 game with a 2B, HR and two walks for Louisville on my Facebook page last night.

I deleted the post this morning.

I wasn't comfortable with the reaction in the comment section. Some of the things being said about him were embarrassing. Not just mean, but personal.

I'm not sure what has happened with some fans and Votto.

Votto is 39 years old, in the twilight of his career and trying to return from two major surgeries Torn labrum and a torn biceps muscle. His career is clearly winding down. He’s Kevin Costner as Billy Chappell in the movie for Love of the Game.

He’s done not one, but two rehab stints. Last night, he completed an 8 game road trip in the minors.

He’s playing with and against some hot shots/young guns. He’s struggled at times…looking bad…looking lost. He’s probably felt embarrassed walking back to the dugout at times as opposing AAA pitchers smirked.

But he’s kept busting his tail, rehabbing, working on his swing AND helping teammates.

Joey Votto is a legend. One of the greatest to ever put on a Reds uniform. He’s likely going to Cooperstown. But more importantly, he’s one of our own. He’s been a part of us since 2007.

Off the field, he’s represented the franchise and the community in a 1st class manner. He’s been involved in the Reds Youth Academy…repeatedly making unannounced/undercover visits to help out. He’s never embarrassed the franchise or city. Never been arrested.

He’s put on a Reds uniform for 16 years. Played in 1,991 games. Played for some good Reds teams. But also some really bad teams. Sadly, playing on more losing teams than winning teams. Never demanding a trade. Never abandoning ship. Always feeling an obligation to fulfill his contract.

When last healthy, he hit 28 homers over the final 82 games of 2021.

Last season, he was a shell of himself playing with one arm.

Imagine the frustration of being great, but playing poorly.

What’s he got left? I don’t know. I do know people at Louisville tell me he’s looked more like his old self over the last week. He’s seeing the ball well. He looks comfortable letting his swing rip. He’s driving the ball, becoming dangerous.

It’s not fair to expect the MVP version of Votto at this stage.

But I believe he’s driven to prove to himself he can come back and perform…. and help…and be a part of what’s happening with this young team.

When he arrives, he’s going to play. He’s earned that. Maybe he plays 1B a couple of days a week, DH’s a couple days a week and pinch-hits.

Votto’s not a threat to the chemistry of this team. Stop it. He’s a valuable asset. I believe he understands he has to catch up to everyone else…that they can’t wait for him. He’s got to perform to continue to get opportunities.

All of this criticism and resentment is the damnedest thing. It’s been going on for years. It’s embarrassing. We don’t root against our own. We embrace, cherish and stand up for our own.

I can’t wait until Votto is activated. I’m rooting for him. He earned my respect long ago. He’s earned your respect.

Can everyone show him some?

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