Sports Today: Joey Votto learns honesty doesn’t pay


Joey Votto set aside 45 minutes or so for a podcast and some people lost their minds

In case you missed it, the Cincinnati Reds ace batsman opened up about a few things during a long conversation with Yahoo Sports. 

He spoke about his admiration of Ichiro and Bryce Harper (among others), his view of PED users, his outlook for Shohei Ohtani and more, but lots of writers latched onto his saying he is disappointed with the team’s terrible start to the season. 

Why that is newsy is not exactly clear to me because it would seem to be the natural reaction to losing almost every game. 

RELATED: Votto calls Reds’ early season struggles ‘actually a good thing’

Now, if he had said, “I’m glad we can’t win because I hate this team and I want to be traded,” that would be something to blast from the mountaintops. 

Truly though he did more the opposite. 

Votto reiterated he feels personally invested in the team since he has spent almost half his life as a member of the Reds organization and he really wants to see things get better. 

That is rather, I suppose, than ask for a trade to a contender, something MLB Network oddly suggested in an awkward mini-commentary during its daily highlights show. 

RELATED: What a difference a week makes (again)

I thought his passion for Cincinnati and the Reds was worth highlighting because many times players, coaches, etc., don’t necessarily come across like they know or care how fans feel about various issues. 

Also more interesting than Votto stating the obvious — “This is the worst start I’ve ever seen” — was his ability to look on the bright side, noting that sometimes teams get off to good starts and start paying more attention to the good things than to potential long-term problems bubbling beneath the surface. 

He went on to say every time he struggles he finds imperfections to iron out of his game and thus implying the organization has to do the same thing. 

He ends up better in the long run and hopes the Reds do, too. 

(Sports media of course will not end up better in the long run because we seem to have a lot of people driving the conversation who don’t know what is news and what is not. That becomes even more problematic when mix in the hot take artists who know better but just say things they may or may not actually believe just to stir the pot. But I digress…) 

Naturally, Votto was asked about all this before the Reds lost in San Francisco last night.

"I never want to be apologetic for anything I say," Votto said. "But, I think I may have been a bit overzealous with some of the things I said because I feel at the time we weren't playing very well, and I was frustrated. Ultimately, I want what's very best for the organization -- everyone throughout.

"I miss the days of playing really good quality baseball. I don't know what to say. I've been with the franchise for a long time now. More often than not, I bite my tongue. Probably, I went a little too far with some of the things I said, just out of frustration.”

He went on to say he overstepped his bounds, but I don’t really think that’s the case. 

There’s nothing wrong with a player expressing the opinion a team that loses almost every game is playing badly. It’s not like he called for anyone to be fired, though he did at least imply there are still things the organization needs to change in order to become a winner again

But isn’t that obvious to everyone? 

When Dick Williams fired the team’s manager and pitching coach he said it was a sign of organizational failure, so I’m not sure why we need to rehash all this. 

RELATED: Firing Bryan Price shows winning might actually matter to Reds

Votto also flippantly explained he doesn’t care about Canadian baseball or the accomplishments of Canadian baseball players, which resulted in his writing a letter of apology

If he was describing his true feelings in the first place, I’m not sure why that was necessary, but I’m also not surprised Votto would take the high road. 

So, what’s it all mean? 

I can only assume we can look forward to even fewer candid conversations between athletes and reporters, which is not good for either side or fans… 

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics handled the Cleveland Cavaliers in game two of the Silver Medal Series in the NBA playoffs

I am not going to declare this series over by any means, but things don’t look good for the Cavs. 

After laying an egg in game one, they played reasonably well in game two but still lost by double digits. 

I didn’t think the Celtics played out of their minds, either. Their performance is replicable, but sometimes things change drastically when a series changes venues. 

The Cavs might look totally rejuvenated on their home floor, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

LeBron James was magnificent as usual, and his supporting cast wasn’t bad with the exception of J.R. Smith, who did not score and should have been thrown out of the game for a cheap shot on Al Horford. 

If the Celtics execute, they should be headed to the Finals to lose to Golden State, but they are still very young and James has brought teams back from the dead before... 

Finally we’ve got more on the Bengals. 

Billy Price got to work with Bengals veterans for the first time Monday as voluntary offseason workouts continue, and he received an early stamp of approval from Andy Dalton

Price, who is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn pec, said he pushed the envelope a little bit by taking part in some things on the field as he tries to absorb as much as he can. 

“He’s doing a good job, as much as he can do right not to learn what’s going on,” Dalton said of Price. “For him, he had never snapped under center so we have to work through it a little bit but for the first day, I think he did a good job. Obviously, we will know more when we are going against defenses but the start today was good for us.”

Meanwhile, Jay Morrison’s takeaways from the Bengals rookie minicamp include the difference between new offensive line coach Frank Pollack and predecessor Paul Alexander. 

I tend to doubt Alexander was a big part of the problem with the line the last few years, but sometimes a new voice and a new approach are beneficial. 

Especially if it comes along with new players like Price and tackle Cordy Glenn...

 


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