Votto tossed, sends apology to 6-year-old

June 20th, 2021

SAN DIEGO – It was a short workday on Saturday for Reds first baseman , but he found time to make the day of a disappointed young fan who had been excited to see him play in person for the first time.

Batting cleanup in the first inning of the Reds' 7-5 loss, Votto struck out on a check swing after an appeal to third-base umpire Chris Guccione.

Votto had words for Guccione as he headed back to the Reds dugout, but turned around when he heard something coming from home plate umpire Ryan Additon. Votto became enraged and had to be separated from Additon after getting thrown out of the game.

“His actions were clear he just lost control,” umpire crew chief Jim Reynolds said. “I'm not quite sure what was said. I didn't get there in time for the ejection. Certainly, Joey's actions, to me, called for an ejection at that point.”

Padres fans booed Votto off the field, thrilled that he was out of the game. But not everybody at Petco Park was pleased. Reds fan Kristin Courtney later tweeted a photo of her 6-year-old daughter Abigail’s sad face after it was explained to her that Votto was no longer playing in the game.

Abigail, who was wearing her red Joey Votto T-shirt, was moved to tears. Hearing about the broken-hearted little girl, the Reds tweeted Courtney and arranged for her to get some Reds goodies. That included a signed baseball from Votto, with a personal note apologizing for not finishing the game. The apology read: "I am sorry I didn't play the entire game."

Courtney is an Ohio native living in the Los Angeles area and has had a lifelong passion for the Reds.

“I’m working on raising my kids to love the Reds too, and it’s definitely going well so far! Abigail really loves Joey Votto and basically the entire team. We are so grateful to Mr. Votto and the Reds!” Courtney said.

Even before the game, Abigail was already having an exciting day. She arrived early with her parents and little brother, and they were near the Reds dugout during batting practice. Abigail was overjoyed when infielder Kyle Farmer provided her with her first-ever autograph. Farmer also returned with a pair of signed balls for her and her brother. Later, reliever Lucas Sims also signed for the kids.

But Abigail’s day took a sharp turn when Votto lost his temper with Additon and continued to argue for several moments. Manager David Bell, who was also thrown out, tried to get between his player and the umpire.

“It looked like something happened where the home plate umpire may have said something to Joey, Joey turned around and I just went out to try to keep Joey in the game,” Bell said. “That was my goal. I didn't get the job done there.”

Bell did not initially realize that he had been ejected also, until Reynolds called him back to the field to tell him.

“I had to go and address the fact that he didn't know that he'd been ejected or to tell him that he was ejected based on his actions during the argument, not based on his actions after the argument,” Reynolds said.

Just after Votto headed for the clubhouse, a Padres fan seated in the front row appeared to get into an altercation with some Reds players and was ejected from the game.

“When I went over there, there was a fan engaging in a very aggressive manner, so I had the security remove him,” Reynolds said.

It was the 14th career ejection for Bell -- the third this season -- and the 13th career ejection for Votto and first of 2021.

Votto received a one-game suspension for bumping umpire Chris Conroy during a game vs. the Pirates on May 6, 2015, and was suspended a second time for one game for his actions during a contest on Sept. 9, 2015, also against the Pirates, for actions during an argument with home plate umpire Bill Welke.