Friday, August 26, 2016

The Votto Interviews, part two

"At first I was not fond of it; to bat second, when all the mighty batsmen of old - Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and my beloved Ted Williams - manned the third position in the batting order, and if not third, than fourth, etc.; and although I am no stranger to uncontrollable rage, on this occasion I do not think I ever felt a greater flow of anger, and it was some time before I was able to master my passion again. Mr. Price, to his credit, ignored my murderous threats and calmly bid me make the best I could of the situation. Finally determining to do so, I reflected on my proclivity for causing my enemies to expend their pitches like so much life-blood, and the admirable effect this would have on Mr. Hamilton, a speedy young gentleman and outfielder from Mississippi with a penchant for thievery on the base-paths, who frequently bats first in our order, should he be fortunate enough to find himself on first base, and me taking up my club and following him to the plate; by giving him ample opportunity to test his legs against the nerves and arms of the unfortunate defenders. Furthermore, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Bruce, and other such spirited gentlemen of our ballclub, though they sell outs less dearly than I (rather would I be bonded to seven years of servitude than part with one in vain), are perhaps more enamored with driving home baserunners; they would have the good fortune to appear at the plate after I have already made ready their way, and frequently with myself on base anxiously awaiting the issue of their contests. When batting third, as I formerly did, I would frequently fortify myself at home plate with two of our three allotted outs already having been expended, and not a friend to be seen on the base-paths among so many villainous faces, they becoming puffed up in their confidence that, even if I emerged victorious, they could eliminate my successor as easily as they had my predecessors, and win the greater battle; thus was my already considerable burden increased. Since our starting nine bat in order, cyclically, the first man following the ninth, etc., I became sensible that I would confront the opposing pitcher just as frequently as I had heretofore, and sometimes more frequently, and never less; these ideas and many others similar led me to a long train of thinking, the result of which was that I began to hold the proposition in a most favorable point of view, and to as warmly espouse the idea as I had formerly opposed it, and to conclude that no strategy our managers could engage in would be of greater consequence, or be of better utility to our ballclub."

- Joey Votto, on being asked to bat second, Cincinnati Enquirer, April 16, 2014.

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