Joey Votto is one of the best personalities in baseball today.
The veteran Reds first baseman has spent his entire career in Cincinnati and is a joy to both watch play and talk about the game of baseball.
As Votto nears 40 years old this September, the grizzled veteran is enjoying the game of baseball just as much as when he was a kid – perhaps even more now.
Votto gave an incredible explanation as to why baseball is such a great sport during his appearance on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” this week.
“I hear from so many people, not only are they fans of the sport but they played the sport, they’re passionate about it, they think it’s such an enjoyable, interesting, consistently surprising sport,” Votto said (10:19 in player above). “My favorite sport is basketball, the UFC, those are the two sports that I absolutely love, but the more time I spend with this sport and the more I travel and see different fanbases and interact with fanbases, the more I’m convinced that we have a special sport here. We have a special sport.”
Votto went to Game 7 of the Boston Celtics’ series against the Miami Heat. While a basketball game can be enjoyable, no other sport has the distinction that baseball has.
“There are no distinct footprints a la Fenway, a Wrigley, a Yankee Stadium. For me, that is something that baseball has that’s distinct from the other sports. The weather, sunny, blue skies, green grass, we have that. The elements really do matter in our sport in terms of enjoyment,” he continued. “Most of our sport is in the friendly spring and summer months. Those are factors. It’s a party. A baseball game can be a genuine party.”
Baseball is a sport that can be enjoyed both by casual and die-hard fans. Even with the pitch clock, there is plenty of downtime to enjoy the atmosphere of the ballpark as well as the play on the field.
This is also a sport where a wide variety of athletes can succeed. While athleticism is usually a key deciding factor in other sports, baseball combines that with skill unlike any other.
It’s something that the superstars of the sport do tremendously well.
“You get to watch Shohei Ohtani play every day, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Aaron Judge,” Votto said. “You get to watch my teammate Matt McLain, who’s 5-foot-9, play alongside Will Benson who was supposed to go to Duke at 6-foot-5 – and they have that in other sports, I don’t deny that.”
“I feel like we’ve got really good athletes here that are performing a skill sport, which is kind of cool. You have to hone a skill. You have to hone a very specific skill whether you’re a pitcher or a hitter. But then they back it up with tremendous athleticism, which is a real joy, I think, for the average fan. It covers both, the fans that want to see athleticism and the fans that want to see craft. I love that about our sport.”