OBSERVATIONS: Say a Fond Farewell to Joey Votto

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering how many minutes (or seconds) go by before Cleveland Browns quaterback Deshaun Watson leaves today’s game with an injury.

—SAYING GOOD-BYE: The Cincinnati Reds made the right call, the right decision, by saying good-bye to Joey Votto.

Simply put, there is no room at the inn. Votto made it clear he still wants to play regularly, but with all the young talent the Reds possess, that wouldn’t be possible.

And although some fans believe that just because the Reds opted not to pick up his $20 million option that they won’t re-sign him for a lesser fee.

Won’t happen. Nick Krall, vice-president of baseball operations, made it clear in his statement when he thanked Votto for his solid and above-and-beyond contributions to the organization.

“At this point of the off-season, based on our current roster and projected plans for 2024, as an organization we cannot commit to the playing time Joey deserves.”

Fans who want him back are thinking with their hearts, and that’s OK. But it is time. He is not part of the team’s ultra-youth movement.

Nobody respected or admired Votto for knowing how to use his abilities to the fullest, for his cooperation with the media, for his leadership and, yes, for his many idiosyncrasies, than I did.

After he won the MPV in 2010, he approached me the next spring and said, “Hal, you’ve been around this game a long time, if I ever change please let me know.”

I never had to say a word. He never changed. He lived the words of country singer Tim McGraw, he always stayed humble and kind.

Whether he hooks up with another team remains to be seen. If not, I plan to be at his Hall of Fame induction five years from now.

And every Reds fan should say it, “Joey, thanks for the memories.”

—WHAT FLAVOR ICE CREAM: I covered 37 World Series and never came close to hearing something like what Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said in his post-game interview after losing the World Series.

He opened a vein and spoke from a shattered heart: “I just want to run away and hide for a few days. I want to go camping and sit in my tent and just suck my thumb and eat ice cream. I want to hurt because I want to remember what this feels like because I never want to feel this again.”

Until Lovullo’s bizarre statement, the wildest thing I ever heard was after the 1976 Cincinnati Reds-New York Yankees World Series.

Both catchers, Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench and New York’s Thurman Munson, hit over .500 during the Reds’ four-game sweep.

In the post-game interview room, Reds manager Sparky Anderson was asked to compare Munson to Bench and Sparky said, “Munson is an outstanding ballplayer and he would hit .300 in the National League, but don’t ever compare nobody to Johnny Bench, don’t never embarrass nobody by comparing them to Johnny Bench.”

It created a furor in New York and Sparky later apologized, especially since Munson was standing in the back of the room when Sparky said it.

But, you know what? Munson was good, very good, but Sparky was right with his fractured English — Don’t never embarrass nobody by comparing them to Johnny Bench.

—WHAT ARE THE ODDS?: Will they never learn? Just one day after the World Series, before any team made an offseason move, Las Vegas released odds on who will win the 2024 World Series.

The favorite? The Atlanta Braves. The second favorite? The Los Angeles Dodgers. Then comes Houston and this year’s champion Texas Rangers are the fourth pick.

Then comes Philadelphia, Baltimore, the New York Yankees, San Diego, Tampa Bay and Toronto.

Notice something. Not only are the Cincinnati Reds not mentioned in the top ten, no team in the National League Central is mentioned, nor any team from the American League Central.

OK, the Reds are the 18th highest pick and if you lay $100 and they win the World Series you win $4000. I’ll take my $100 to a blackjack table.

—NOW THAT’S FISHY: That’s a bad look in San Diego. The Padres passed out cash like Halloween candy this year to free agents until the payroll hit $256 million. Now there is a report that the Padres borrowed $50 million, “To cover expenses.”

They must have overestimated theire projected sale of fish tacos in Petco Park.

—A GUT PUNCH: There is a chance that the University of Dayton could play nationally-ranked St. John’s in the Charleston Classic and something stunning happened this week.

St. John’s lost an exhibtion game to Division II Pace University, 63-59.

Controversial St. John’s coach Rick Pitino put a sugary spin on it by saying, “We learned a lot about what we need to work on. That’s what exhibtions are for.”

Keep a watch on the St. John’s opener Tuesday against Stony Brook. The Seawolves beat Manhattan by 50 points in an exhibition.

St. John’s opens the tournamnent November 16 against North Texas State, followed by UD against LSU.

—THE BIG 18: The Big Ten (Shouldn’t it now be the Big 18?) revealed its 2024 football schedule that includes newcomers UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington. And there no longer will be two divisions.

Ohio State’s matchups: Michigan State, Iowa, Oreon, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan.

Other than Oregon, Penn State and Michigan, the Buckeyes appear to have a powder puff schedule, but as former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Joaquin Andujar once said, “I’ll say it in one word. Youneverknow.”

—QUOTE MACHINE: Some awesome quotes I heard this week:

***From Alabama football coach Nick Saban: “I told my players in a meeting to cover one ear with a hand because I didn’t want what I said to go in one ear and out the other.”

***From Arizona manager Torey Lovullo to his pitchers: “You can’t throw a gutter ball to Corey Seager on the first pitch.”

***A quote I heard but in my advancing age can’t remember who said it in describing Corey Seager’s MVP performance in the World Series: “He is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all in one body.”

***From NBA superstar James Harden, traded by Philadelphia to the Los Angeles Clippers, about the 76ers reducing his role from scorer to passer, putting a leash on him: “I’m not a system player, I am a system.”

***One of my favorites of the many to fall out of the mouth of Sparky Anderson: “Every 24 hours the world turns over on someone who was sitting top of it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *