Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto sent a written apology on a signed baseball to a tearful young fan to make up for getting tossed in the first inning of Saturday’s game in San Diego.
Soon after Votto was ejected for arguing a third strike on a check-swing appeal, Reds fan Kristin Courtney tagged the Reds in a tweet showing her tearful daughter Abigail wearing a Votto t-shirt with the caption, “When it’s your first MLB game and your favorite player of all time gets thrown out of the game in the first inning” along with three crying emojis and the hashtag #WeLoveYouJoey.
Courtney, who told MLB.com she grew up in Ohio but now lives in Los Angeles, soon after offered a happy update on what she called “the sad Abigail situation.”
“It took a couple of innings, but she eventually cheered up with some popcorn! And Joey Votto is SO KIND- he signed this amazing ball for her!!” Courtney tweeted. “Thank you so much Mr. Votto & the wonderful Reds.”
The autographed ball by Votto read “I am sorry I didn’t play the entire game.”
Votto initially argued the appealed check swing with third-base umpire Chris Guccione and then was booted after continuing the argument with home-plate ump Ryan Additon. Reds manager David Bell also was thrown out during the disagreement.
“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 after the game. “That was my goal. I didn’t get the job done there.”
An animated Votto continued to argue following his 13th career ejection, and crew chief Jim Reynolds said after the game that “his actions were clear he just lost control.”
“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,” Reynolds added.
Reynolds said he also had security remove a fan behind the Reds’ dugout who appeared to be “engaging in a very aggressive manner” with several Cincinnati players.
The argument lasted so long that Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and other teammates sat down on the field.