I am now officially in love with Joey Votto...well, if he were a she.
The main headline on the Yahoo splash page runs Votto through the ringer for not hugging and slapping the rear end of Marlon Byrd.
It wasn't the feature story for very long—enough time to send me into a legitimate laugh out loud.
Says Votto, "I don't like the Cubs. And I'm not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. But because he made that really cool play, it turned out to be a really cool experience. I'm really glad we got the win today."
Yeah baby, that's the spirit!
The Cubs outfielder made a great play...possibly a game saver. Votto acknowledged it as being a "really cool play"—so what's the big deal?
I ask, what in the world is wrong with not liking a rival team?
It wasn't anything personal against Byrd.
It's just the fact that the Cubs outfielder happens to wear the wrong color jersey—although, I have always liked the Cubbie blue—very classy.
One of my biggest pet peeves in the game of baseball is being forced to watch camaraderie between opposing teams. Players yukking it up with the other team before the game, and especially during the game—it's sickening.
Call me an old-school soul, but if Shoeless Joe had a smiley face on and tried to talk to Ty Cobb, it's very likely Jackson would have been murdered on the playing field.
Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a catcher trying to make a batter lose his focus by making sport of the guy's ugly wife.
Or even, a little banter between a first baseman and a rival who has just reached base is okay.
I've seen Joey Votto do that numerous times...maybe even with Marlon Byrd—I'll pay closer attention the next time the Reds are in Wrigley or the Cubs hit Great American.
"Votto refused to congratulate Chicago Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd."
So what? Did everyone congratulate him? I doubt it, but if they did I'm for sure glad I turned off the tube when the game ended.
Were Votto and the rest of the NL All-Stars supposed to run into the outfield and join the jumping chest bump?
The ninth inning play by Byrd, where he bull rushed the ball and made a last second decision to let it fall and get the force at second of the sloth-footed David Ortiz was the best play by a right-fielder in an All-Star game since 1979 when Dave Parker fielded a line drive single on a hop and gunned the third base runner down at the plate.
Byrd knew it was a spectacular play. Votto knew it. Everyone who saw it knew it.
According to Yahoo baseball "expert", David Brown (what a lame name—get a pseudonym buddy), Votto should have congratulated Byrd with a, "Handshake...a wave...a wink...a nod...a glance...a happy thought."
How about a tongue kiss? Would that have suited you, David Lame Name?
Lame Name goes on to say, "What a leech—and a sorry excuse for an All-Star."
Hmmmm....What's worse, saying you are not going to pat the back of a divisional rival (while saying his play was "cool"), or calling a complete stranger "a leech" and "a sorry excuse for an All-Star?"
I know my answer.
Anyone half familiar with Votto's style knows that the man takes the game very seriously. He very rarely even smiles.
Now, knowing he is a throwback to the days when joshing around with members of the opposition would lead to a beating, Joey Votto is officially my favorite baseball player.