If Votto was a leader, he'd be leading

Joey Votto is the best hitter on the 2010 Cincinnati Reds. As Votto goes, the Reds go. When he isn’t in the lineup (and that’s barring a Miguel Cairo who OPS’s .900 in a short-spell), the lineup can look awfully sparse in a hurry.
And so for the last week when Joey Votto has been sitting out–to what we’ve all been told is the stiff neck from Hell–well, it causes us to have to bring a few things into question doesn’t it?
When they say they’re ready, I like to wait one day longer,” Baker said. “There’s something different about working out than there is to playing. The importance and impact of the next series — if it was September, it’d be a different thing. But right now, we can’t afford to lose him for any extended length of time.”
So Votto wasn’t down about being idle the last few days.
“Not really, we’re winning,” said Votto, who was batting .312 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs. “The guys are hitting really well and Miguel is playing great. There’s really nothing for me to be upset over. I’d be really upset if we were losing 4-3 and 2-1 and I’m not there for it. With all of these wins, I’m having a great time to be honest with you.”
If you want my opinion, that doesn’t sound like much of a competitor to me. I wonder if Joey had a great time the last few days. I think he makes the difference over the course of a 2-0, 10-inning loss when the Reds squander several opportunities with the middle of the lineup leaving guys on base. Then we travel to St. Louis where we’re sold on him being gearing up for; 1st place on the line and all. And we’re told that he hit ‘rope after rope’ into left-center during batting practice. Yet still no Joey Votto in the lineup.
We lose 12-4, and the first place lead we had over the Cardinals is gone. Meanwhile, Joey is on the bench having a great time.
And now, I’m going to shoot on the best hitter on the Reds whether other Reds fans like to hear it or not becuase no one is above criticism, even and especially the most gifted player on the team.
This past off season we gave you a few Joey Votto stories that are undoubtedly true. And while some would ask me what liking designer clothing, pedicures, and girly coffee has to do with anything; I’d tell you that it goes hand-in-hand with guys who need to toughen up a little bit and not contribute to the feminization of America.
I thought Adam Dunn was a tough guy. He played whether he was hurt or healthy. Dunn is just one example, but he wasn’t a guy who you would have seen shopping for designer wear. He wouldn’t drink expensive coffee. In fact, Dunn probably would have worn a Hooters t-shirt that one of his old girlfriends left at his place and drank Miller-lite. He was that type of guy. We’re told that Votto likes enjoys shopping more then most women do.
The guy is the best player in our lineup. He’s dynamic. And in a year where the pennant race will at best come down to a few games, I think that someone fudged up here. If we miss out on the playoffs by a few games, I think you can point back to this past week or so and make up your difference right here. Some might say you can do that with a lot of things. Some people might say that this is a playoff-starved fan over-reacting a little bit. Maybe that is the case.
One thing is for sure; either Joey Votto’s neck wasn’t the issue at all here and the Reds have chose to cover things up with a very poor excuse or as I said before, Votto needs to find a way to get out there and play. I believe he is one of the only guys in our lineup aside from Scott Rolen who is that dynamic and that big of a difference maker.
This isn’t a case of someone hating on Joey Votto. Before this incident, I was among the many who not only thought he was All-Star game caliber, but I also texted friends that he should be among consideration for the MVP award if things continue.
But guys I want leading my team don’t sit out a week with a stiff neck. Guys that are MVP’s find a way to be out there for games like yesterday. They’re not on the bench having a ‘great time’ while their team loses another game in the standings.
As I have said to others if this was New York; based on things that happened last year, Votto would have been asked a tough question or two by now. It’s Cincinnati, and the writers have went nowhere in the direction of it. That’s fine, but it shows that even the writers in this town are more used to the organization’s on-field mediocrity then the writers in New York or Boston. Believe me folks, if it was one of those die-hard towns; they’d be all over Votto. Hopefully he remembers that when it comes time to sign that next contract.
For me, Votto isn’t a gamer. He doesn’t love the game above all else. He’s a gifted athlete who plays the game because he is good at it and it affords him a life that another profession wouldn’t.
I hope for our sake he can prove me wrong.