Joey Votto has been a thorn in the side of the Chicago Cubs for 15 years. Over the course of the first baseman’s career, the Cincinnati Reds slugger boasts a .312 batting average with 48 home runs. Those aren’t career totals against every MLB team; those numbers just represent Votto’s incredible career against the Cubs.
His disdain for the northsiders is deeply rooted in the NL Central rivalry. Playing 19 times per season against one team for 15 years builds that tension. But Votto’s intense nature on the diamond doesn’t prevent his more jovial side from peaking out when interacting with fans.
In the fourth inning of Thursday night’s loss at Wrigley Field, television cameras captured a sweet moment between a young Cubs fan and the Reds ballplayer. Votto appears to introduce himself to the kid in the first row of seats near Cincinnati’s on-deck circle. The conversation is brief, but one thing is clear: it make’s the young fan’s year.
But the awe inspiring moment doesn’t end with the quick chat. In the sixth inning, Votto mashes his second homer of the season against Chicago, bringing the Reds within five. After hustling around the bases, Votto celebrates in passing with teammates before quickly heading over to the youngster from two innings prior. The first baseman offers a high-five, and the overjoyed fan reciprocates.
Fans in the surrounding sections couldn’t help but applaud, encapsulating what gives The Friendly Confines its nickname.
Joey Votto Doesn’t Like Your Team, But He Might Like Your Fans
Just because he’s Canadian doesn’t mean the first baseman feels an obligation to act friendly. Cubs pitcher Rowan Wick learned that the hard way when Votto and the reliever exchanged words after Wick hit Votto with a pitch in May.
When Wick mouthed “nice bat flip” to the slugger, Votto rightfully took exception, telling the pitcher, “you’re not on my f***ing level”.
But when it comes to making peace with other fans, Votto’s no stranger to the concept. After opening a TikTok account in April, one fan expressed a desire to make a video for the platform with the first baseman. Obliging the odd request, Votto made the video with the young Arizona Diamondbacks fan.