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Thread: Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

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    Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

    Atlanta: Ex-Lookout Votto seems on his way to Reds success

    By: Darren Epps

    ATLANTA — He ranks in the top three among National League rookies in almost every hitting category, surely raising some glasses back in Ontario at Via Allegro. That’s an Italian restaurant where Joey Votto’s mother used to work as the sommelier.

    His likeness appears on 1,000 bobbleheads, the result of a Chattanooga Lookouts promotion two weeks ago. He’s been gone barely a year.

    “How did it look?” Votto asks in the Cincinnati clubhouse before Friday night’s 2-0 loss to Atlanta.

    Told he doesn’t look bad, Votto smiles.

    He’s a star rookie now, a long way from the kid who received his first baseball bat at the age of 8, viewed Braves Triple-A first baseman and fellow Canadian Scott Thorman as a symbol of hope and struggled initially in the minor leagues. He is the hero now, as evidenced by the Lookouts’ recent promotion. He is the symbol of hope for the Reds, batting .328 in his last 18 games and exhibiting some power.

    But the 24-year-old Votto, even as the future at first base for the Reds, still reflects on his time in Chattanooga and beams.

    “You know what? It was my favorite place to play. It really was,” he said. “I wasn’t a big fan of, well, you know, I thought Louisville was a tough park to hit in. But I loved playing in Chattanooga. The fans were great. The management and the managers I had were great, and I miss (hitting coach) Jamie Dismuke more than anything. I really liked playing there. I had a great time. It was my favorite stop in the minor leagues.”

    And why not? Before emerging as a major prospect in Chattanooga in 2006, Votto and the rest of his Class A teammates had to take a strike before swinging thanks to the not-so-brilliant mind of former Reds general manager Dan O’Brien. It was a worse baseball idea than 10-Cent Beer Night.

    Votto slumped. Friend and fellow prospect Jay Bruce slumped. Everyone slumped.

    “I was held back those two years when we were forced to take a strike. It was a product of the situation I was in,” Votto said. “If you take a look at any of the guys on that team, we all struggled. It was the entire team.

    “But we learned how to deal with struggling and failure and baseball stress. We got through it and, you know, I didn’t have to take a strike anymore in Chattanooga.”

    Pitchers didn’t want to throw him any. He batted .319 with 22 home runs and won Southern League MVP honors in Chattanooga two seasons ago, then earned a promotion to Louisville. He was close. The Reds continued to falter. He continued playing well. And so he waited. And waited. And waited all the way until Sept. 1 to earn his call-up.

    Four days later, he smashed a 421-foot home run in the first at-bat of his first career start.

    “It was hard, I’m not going to lie,” Votto said of the wait. “It wasn’t hard because of what people said. It was more my own expectations. I felt like I was held back a couple of years when I had to take a strike. And it was frustrating being at a level that basically I played as well as I could play and still be stuck at that level. It was more personal stress.”

    Votto would never say it, but you have to imagine there’s at least some stress playing for the mystery known as Reds manager Dusty Baker. He’s a friendly man with an infectious smile who uses the word “man” a lot.

    And man, he’s strange. He preaches aggressiveness and seems almost against taking walks, some sort of bizarro world opposite of Dan O’Brien. Before Friday’s game, Baker admitted that, maybe, the reeling Reds offense could use Votto and former Lookout Edwin Encarnacion higher in the lineup with Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. struggling. Entering the weekend, Votto had four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 15 games.

    But Baker benched Votto for the aging Scott Hatteberg, now hitting .135, and the Reds managed three hits against Tim Hudson. The closest Cincinnati got to scoring a run was when Votto, pinch-hitting in the eighth with Encarnacion on third, ripped a ball down the first-base line that was stabbed by a diving Mark Teixeira.

    If you want to see lots of cursing on the Internet, check out any Reds site when Baker makes a lineup without Votto.

    “He’s going to be up there soon. He’ll be a fifth hitter,” Baker said before the game. “Man, he works hard, keeps his mouth shut and is very respectful.”

    It won’t be long until many of the Lookouts we’ve watched over the past few years are in Cincinnati with the assignment of saving a failing franchise. Hatteberg’s start Friday fueled speculation that the Reds (12-18) are showcasing him for a trade. If the Reds continue to struggle, Griffey could be traded and replaced by Bruce. Fans are desperate for Homer Bailey to replace Matt Belisle in the rotation.

    And maybe, after a few years, they can all reflect on Cincinnati in the same favorable manner Votto talks about Chattanooga.

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2...succes/?sports

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    Re: Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Votto would never say it, but you have to imagine there’s at least some stress playing for the mystery known as Reds manager Dusty Baker. He’s a friendly man with an infectious smile who uses the word “man” a lot.

    And man, he’s strange. He preaches aggressiveness and seems almost against taking walks, some sort of bizarro world opposite of Dan O’Brien. Before Friday’s game, Baker admitted that, maybe, the reeling Reds offense could use Votto and former Lookout Edwin Encarnacion higher in the lineup with Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. struggling. Entering the weekend, Votto had four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 15 games.

    But Baker benched Votto for the aging Scott Hatteberg, now hitting .135, and the Reds managed three hits against Tim Hudson. The closest Cincinnati got to scoring a run was when Votto, pinch-hitting in the eighth with Encarnacion on third, ripped a ball down the first-base line that was stabbed by a diving Mark Teixeira.

    If you want to see lots of cursing on the Internet, check out any Reds site when Baker makes a lineup without Votto.

    “He’s going to be up there soon. He’ll be a fifth hitter,” Baker said before the game. “Man, he works hard, keeps his mouth shut and is very respectful.”
    Outsiders have noticed, amazing, I thought that we were living all alone in a cave with echoes for awhile until I see something like this article.

    We have lawyers on this board. Question ? Is there anyway that we can get a gag order on Dusty?

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    Re: Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

    If you want to see lots of cursing on the Internet, check out any Reds site when Baker makes a lineup without Votto.
    RedsZone REPRESENT!
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    Re: Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

    I get the feeling we will see Edwin and Votto higher in the lineup today.
    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    Let's face it, you mis-hit the bun with the mustard squirter, no one will really care.

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    Re: Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

    Quote Originally Posted by reds44 View Post
    I get the feeling we will see Edwin and Votto higher in the lineup today.
    Winner !!! See Boss and GIK for your door prize.

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    Re: Article on Joey Votto from Chattanooga paper

    Votto takes pride in his glove work
    First baseman working hard to improve his defensive skills
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    ATLANTA -- Joey Votto's hitting ability got him noticed as a teenager and eventually punched his ticket to the Major Leagues with the Reds.

    As a first baseman, Votto could probably have settled for being slightly more mobile than a tree and made his glove work a distant second priority to hitting. But that would have contradicted the makeup of the diligent 24-year-old Canadian rookie.

    "I've always found that some guys can hit and some guys can't hit, but the people that take pride on that side [defense] and the little things in baseball, the entire team respects and the starting pitcher can trust," Votto said. "That's a big thing for me."

    Votto frequently takes extra ground balls before games and has made improvements in his footwork. He's come up with some nice plays lately, including a diving stop on Mark Teixeira's sharp first-inning grounder that saved a run from scoring Saturday night.

    The play was a critical one early on, but the game evolved into a 9-1 blowout loss against the Braves. On Friday, when Votto was pinch-hitting, Teixeira robbed him with a tough stop on a screamer of a groundout to first base.

    "I told him afterwards, 'You got me, now we're even,'" Votto said. "He laughed at that and said, 'We're square now. No more messing around.'"

    In 24 games and 188 total chances entering Sunday, Votto had committed two errors for a .989 fielding percentage.

    Votto wasn't naturally gifted with defensive nimbleness. A 2002 second-round Draft pick by Cincinnati, he was originally selected as a catcher, but converted to first base early on in his pro career.

    The switch was ordered by former Reds general manager Jim Bowden.

    "He came up to me and told me to focus on hitting and playing first base," Votto said. "I always kind of scratched my head and wondered why I never played third, or left field or right field or anything like that until last year. It took almost two or three years until I felt comfortable there and adequate there."

    Votto was briefly stationed in left field during his September callup last season, but has played nowhere but first base this year.

    Meanwhile, Votto has been one of Cincinnati's more productive hitters. He came in to Sunday batting .293 with four home runs and 19 RBIs and cemented his status as the primary first baseman after an early platoon with Scott Hatteberg was scrapped.

    "He works on everything. He wants to be a good player," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You've got to want to be a good player to be a good player. You have to put in the time and the effort and work in all departments, especially in a world that only seems to care only about offensive numbers.

    "If you're going to be a ballplayer -- which to me is a big word -- not just a hitter and not just a slugger, not just a guy with a golden glove, a ballplayer that can play all phases of the game, you have to work on all phases of the game. He has the chance to be a ballplayer."

    http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/...=.jsp&c_id=cin


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