Let’s just get one thing out of the way right now, Joey Votto is your National League Most Valuable Player. Votto didn’t finish first in any of the triple crown categories, but he finished higher than any other National League player that’s in the playoffs, and that counts for something. His .324 batting average was second and his 37 home runs and 113 RBI were third, behind only Albert Pujols or Carlos Gonzalez. Both of those players led teams that completely choked late in the season and are now going be to watching the playoffs like me, from the comfort of their home couches. But more than that, I think the following interview is helping me turn into a Votto fan.
I hated everything about his ploy when it came to the fan vote and the All-Star Game this season and that sort of turned me against him. But this guy is good, he’s funny and, most importantly, he’s actually playing in the playoffs. Joey Votto joined the Dan Patrick Show to talk about the MVP race and whether he’s done enough to win, who brought the infamous cigars to the Reds’ postgame party when they clinched a playoff spot, Mitch Williams saying that the Reds are the least threatening playoff team, why he has hit better away from Cincinnati and whether he believes he’s the best Canadian-born player in baseball this year.
On whether he’s done enough to win the National League MVP award:
“From what I’ve been told, most of the time the kind of guys that get picked for Most Valuable Player are usually on a winning team and I think that certainly helps my cause. But you look at a guy like Albert Pujols and you take a look at his numbers, pretty much across the board, he’s pretty much been one of the best hitters, if not the best hitter, in baseball, not named Miguel Cabrera. And obviously Carlos Gonzalez had a great year and won the batting title. I think I had a very good year and I played on a winning team and I certainly hope that I get a really fair shot at it.”
On who brought the infamous cigars to Cincinnati’s locker room when they clinched:
“I’m not going to say anything about the cigars, because I think you know there’s stuff going on where we had some kind of complaints over smoking indoors. I’m not going to say whether or not the cigars were lit or not. … But as far as partying, you just kind of do what all the other teams have done in the past and try to make it better.”
On if the Reds win the World Series, whether he’ll light up a cigar:
“No, probably not. I know I won’t. I don’t really want to pay that fine.”
On Mitch Williams saying the Reds are the least threatening team going into the playoffs:
“Well, I’ll tell you what, Mitch is definitely entitled to his own opinion. But I grew up in Toronto and I’d like to thank Mitch for giving me one of my very favorite childhood memories in giving up the home run to Joe Carter. So thank you very much, Mitch.”
On, as a Canadian, he’d rather be Wayne Gretzky or whoever his baseball idol is:
“I’d still probably pick Gretzky. You talk about a god in Canada.” Have you met him?: “No, I never have. I think, and I probably shouldn’t say this, but I think Justin Morneau is buddies with him and he’s supposed to be such a great, down-to-earth guy, which is kind of crazy considering how big he was. He is it. You can try and put Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali together and it probably wouldn’t even keep up with Wayne Gretzky in Canada.”
On why he’s hit better on the road:
“Well, I definitely take a lot of pride in it. A lot of people give our ballpark a little too much credit. It’s more of a right field, so a pull left-handed hitter, or an opposite-field right-handed hitter, home run ballpark, and I’m not a typical pull hitter. I drive the ball all over the field. So it works in other stadiums where there’s a little more space. In our ballpark, it’s a little tighter.”
On whether he’s the best Canadian-born player this year:
“I don’t know. I’ll tell you what, Justin [Morneau] was putting up one heck of a year. He might’ve been MVP a second time. It’s a shame he ended up getting hurt. I hope he’s doing well. “