"Yeah," Cozart replied, "I like donkeys."
From the idea of Cozart and his son having a soft spot for Shrek’s pal, Votto offered to buy the shortstop an animal if he made the All-Star Game, which he did not last season.
The offer stood for this season, though, and Votto lobbied Reds fans to vote for Cozart. He even dressed up as a donkey one day at Great American Ball Park. It worked; the Reds’ shortstop led the National League in voting at his position. He’ll start tonight, and bat ninth for NL manager Joe Maddon of the Cubs. So, guess who’s on the way to a shortstop near you?
There remain issues. There is no donkey just yet. Some remain skeptical.
And donkeys are not exactly easy to find.
"Once I started to make calls and give people my American Express," Votto reported, "it became serious."
Cozart doesn’t have a place in Cincinnati to keep his prize, so he’s asked his mother to keep the animal on her open land near Nashville.
It could make an appearance soon in Great American Ball Park, as Votto hopes to deliver the famed donkey to Cozart on the field in a pregame ceremony.
"We're just trying to make sure it's a donkey that can handle the stadium and the fans and stuff like that, because we're going to deliver it on the field,'' Votto said. "It's not just Zack's donkey. It feels like it's the fan base's [donkey], because they did all the work to vote him in.''
Maybe it will look something like this:
Thus will begin the process of naming the animal, a project that will not be taken lightly.
"You've got to see the personality, see how it goes," Cozart said, "before you give it a goofy name or something."
There are unsubstantiated reports that this guy is auditioning for the role: