Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto on Opening Day: 'I'm Thinking About Having a Little Bling in My Mouth'

TikTok's newest star was quite candid on the field Thursday night, even sharing his breakdancing routine.

click to enlarge Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is the team’s elder statesman. - PHOTO: PROVIDED BY THE CINCINNATI REDS
photo: provided by the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is the team’s elder statesman.

We're only a day into the Cincinnati Reds' regular season and we already can't get enough of Joey Votto.

During the MLB season opener at the Atlanta Braves' Truist Park, Votto wore an earpiece and microphone to provide in-game commentary to ESPN2 commentators, and it was absolute gold. Tooth gold, that is.

First, Votto admitted that playing the game while narrating his actions was new for him.

"We're in the middle of a 3-1 ballgame right now, and, uh, playing defense just by itself is hard. Hitting just by itself is hard. But doing it with a microphone in my ear is foreign territory for me. So I'm excited about the new challenge," he said.

Votto jokingly added that he was in a bit of a "midlife crisis" and has been making decisions that were outside his wheelhouse.

"I actually have been considering getting a diamond tooth or a gold tooth, taking out one of my bicuspids and replacing it," Votto said while keeping his eyes on Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson and starter Tyler Mahle. "So ask the fans what they think about that. I'm thinking about having a little bling in my mouth. You know, send out a poll there."
As Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies arrived at the bag, Votto began taking the broadcast audience through his defensive plan. But then he tagged Albies, smiled, told him that he was miked up (perhaps so Albies didn't think Votto was narrating the game for his own amusement) and asked him to "say hi to everyone."

Albies grinned and said, "Hi, everyone" into Votto's microphone. It was a wholesome, baseball-bred exchange that many fans don't get to see from two players at the top of their game.

But things got even better when Albies returned to the bag and the broadcast booth suggested that Votto get his opinion about the Reds' star's potential blinged-out tooth. Votto chuckled and suggested that the commentators' ages were... uh... advanced.

"Ozzie's not dealing with a midlife crisis like me. I'm asking you guys β€” you guys are past midlife crisis mode," Votto retaliated. "Ozzie's a young buck. He's got nothing but a bright future."
But then Votto turned to Albies and asked, "Hey, Ozzie, what do you think about me getting a diamond tooth?"

Albies had the reply everyone wanted to hear: "Go for it."

"They told me to ask you," Votto, 38, divulged to the 25-year-old. "I said I wasn't going to ask you; you're much too young. I'm 'midlife crisis guy.'"

Later, the Reds posted this glorious image to Twitter:
All of this already was a lot of goodness to cram into the top of an inning, but Votto still wasn't done spitting out gems. As the Reds' Aristides Aquino raced to catch Alex Dickerson's shot to right field, the broadcast booth brought up Votto using breakdancing to increase his flexibility. Votto chuckled and admitted to busting a move.

"I took some lessons in the off-season. I do it like once or twice a week. I want to make sure I was in a good place defensively now that this DH (designated hitter) is in both leagues," Votto said, referring to this season's new rule that both the American and National leagues will sub a hitter for the pitcher in the batting order. "I just do not want to DH. You know? I want to play defense as long as I can. Some of my very favorite players of all time played defense throughout the rest of their career, and I think I can do that, but you have to stay in really good condition."

Votto has been trying all kinds of things lately, including launching his Instagram (81k followers and counting) and TikTok (109k followers) channels. His first video on both channels was a glitzy quick-change transformation from street clothes to his Reds uniform. The first baseman since has posted videos of himself singing Carly Simon's "Mockingbird" and Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris."
But even with all of that, Votto still managed to squeeze some actual baseball commentary into the broadcast, likening his batting approach to a golfer's, to drive the ball as hard and as far as possible.

"I worked with a golf instructor a couple of years ago, and he likened what I'm trying to do right now to β€” and we've got the Master's (Tournament) going on right now, which is perfect β€” to a golfer," Votto explained. "The best golfers in the world are the longest drivers, and the players that get cut are the ones that are most accurate on the fairway. Just hit it far, smash it. And that's what I'm trying to do on a baseball field."

Votto said that he's most proud of the number of games he's played and his ability to adapt to changes as he begins his 16th season with the Reds.

"I'm not trying to pat myself on the back here, but it takes consistent adaptation. You always have to accept a new challenge. You always have to accept that change is inevitable. And this game, it just does not stop coming at you," Votto said. "You know, I'm talking right now, but my heart is beating through my chest just because I know how every single moment counts. Every moment in this sport is challenging, and I don't take it for granted, so that's what I'm proud of. "
Votto also offered some thoughts about his future retirement β€” and his desire to avoid it while he can.

"You see examples in other sports, what LeBron (James) is doing in the NBA, what Tom Brady is doing in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers in the NFL. These guys are late-30s, 40s," Votto said. "You know, I have to say, I feel excellent and I feel strong. I feel healthy."

"I feel like I fit right in with the game currently, so as far as there being any sort of eyes on retirement, I don't feel like I'm there yet," he continued. "I'm having a good time, I love my teammates, I love wearing this uniform, and I love playing ball."

The Cincinnati Reds beat the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves on the road 6-3 on April 7, opening day for the 2022 MLB season. The team will continue the series in Atlanta before returning to Cincinnati for the home opener against intrastate rivals the Cleveland Guardians on April 12 at Great American Ball Park; first pitch will be at 4:10 p.m.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will throw out the first pitch
, with coach Zac Taylor and wide receiver Ja'marr Chase joining the on-field festivities. The game will be preceded by Cincinnati's iconic Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, for which Reds lifer Barry Larkin will serve as grand marshal. A number of bars, restaurants and communities are hosting additional pre-game activities, and GABP is ready with new menu items for hungry fans.

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