The Reds' slugging, and often candid, first baseman said he "didn't give a rat's a--" about his fellow countryman's accomplishment on their home soil. "I humbly ask for your forgiveness," he wrote Wednesday.
James Paxton apparently can’t please anybody. First, attacked by America’s national bird. Then by his own countryman?
Fellow Canuck, Reds first baseman Joey Votto, was asked Tuesday on Yahoo Sports’ MLB podcast about Paxton’s no-hitter against the Blue Jays last week, the second ever by a Canadian and the first to do so in his homeland.
“I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball,” Votto told Yahoo. “I wasn’t raised inside of Canadian baseball, really. I’m coming up on half of my life being in the United States working and being supported by American baseball.”
He said he “couldn’t give a rat’s a–” about it.
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Cue the apology:
“I was asked recently about James Paxton and his no-hitter on Canadian soil. I am not sure how I could have been so ridiculously selfish and short-sighted in my reply,” Votto wrote Wednesday in a first-person piece for The Canadian Baseball Network.
He said he spoke out of jealousy, citing his being passed up by the Canadian national team in high school and the minors, and also by the Toronto Blue Jays as a draft prospect coming out of high school. (The Reds took Votto in the second round of the 2002 draft.)
Seeing the British Columbia-born Paxton lauded by the Toronto crowd prompted what Votto called an “odd” response and one that he was “very ashamed of.”
Votto, who was born and raised in Toronto, has twice won the Lou Marsh Trophy, awarded to Canada’s top athlete. He said in the apology letter he has those trophies “stage[d] proudly in my house next to my Major League Baseball awards.” Former Rockies outfielder Larry Walker (2000) and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins (1974) are the only other baseball players to win the award.
He added: “I go back to Toronto each off season and feel renewed every time I cross the border to my home and native land.”
The Blue Jays may have passed up Votto in the draft, but they did select Paxton in the first round after his junior season at the University of Kentucky. Unable to agree on a signing bonus, Paxton returned for another season, and the Mariners took him in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft.
As for appreciating the rich baseball history of their homeland, few — and not Paxton — were able to name the first Canadian to toss a no-no: Dick Fowler, of the Philadelphia A’s, in 1945.
But of the accomplishment, Paxton said: “Pretty amazing. To have it happen in Canada, what are the odds of that happening? And against the Blue Jays, you can’t write this stuff.”