'Is It a Nipple Thing?' Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto Spits Gold in Broadcast Booth Again

Votto and the Reds honored retiring St. Louis Cardinals players Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina before the 13-inning loss.

click to enlarge Joey Votto sits in the Cincinnati Reds' broadcast booth at Great American Ball Park for the game between the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 31, 2022. - Photo: twitter.com/reds
Photo: twitter.com/reds
Joey Votto sits in the Cincinnati Reds' broadcast booth at Great American Ball Park for the game between the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 31, 2022.

We may not have Joey Votto's bat in the Cincinnati Reds' lineup right now, but by golly, we still have his wit.

"Is it a Nipple Thing?"

Votto and his post-surgery sore shoulder joined John Sadak and Cooperstown inductee Barry Larkin in the broadcast booth at Great American Ball Park for the Aug. 31 series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals (Reds lost 5-3 in 13 innings), and – per usual – he didn't disappoint. Votto talked about everything from crafting a good swing to the view of the field to the ongoing retirement/victory lap for the Cards' Albert Pujols.

But Votto's presence also evoked the topic of nipples. Yes, again. And it was just as delightful as you'd expect.

In an exchange with Votto and the broadcast booth about the first baseman's arm, dugout reporter Jim Day said, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get you ready for the season next year."

Naturally, Votto replied, "Tank tops?" which made Day groan.

That's when Larkin jumped in with, "Jim, is it a nipple thing?" to Votto's glee

"Oh, jeez, Here we go – that viral video," Day said.

The Reds' Instagram clip does not show the broadcasters and the "nipple" line was a little more subdued than others, so it's possible that someone other than Larkin said this.

The exchange was a callback to a 2018 Reds spring training game in which Votto gloriously teased  Day. Votto had approached Day for a "rare in-game interview" to ask where he should hit the ball next. Day suggested he pull a pitch down the right-field line, to which Votto replied, "That's, like, the worst thing I could possibly try to do during a spring training game."

But Votto had ulterior motives for wanting to do the interview. "What about this 'Gym Day' idea?" he asked Day, to the broadcaster's chagrin. Votto suggested that Day do a regular segment in which he wears a tank top and joins players as they work out. Day hesitantly said he would be up for it, but, "I don't know about the tank top, man. I don't think I could pull off the tank."

"Is it a nipple thing?" Votto asked, looking serious at first and then breaking into a sly grin.

Watch that 2018 segment between Votto and Day below.

Honoring Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina

Votto led a short pre-game ceremony that honored St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols as well as catcher Yadier Molina. The Aug. 31 game marked the final time the two Cardinals' greats would play in Great American Ball Park. Pujols – known as one of the game's best players ever and who is trying to become just the fourth player to reach 700 career home runs – is retiring after the 2022 season in the city where he spent the bulk of his career. The former first baseman set records and racked up countless accolades during his first 11 seasons with the Cards before moving to the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers. He returned this season to Busch Stadium on a one-year contract as a DH – a position that wasn't available in the National League when The Machine had played his first major-league game in 2001.

"I loved his technique. I copied much of it. I loved his bat path," Votto said of Pujols in an interview. "I was always very, very fond of Pujols' skill and style."

Molina has been behind the plate for the Cardinals for all 19 years of his MLB career. With an arm like a cannon that regularly nabs runners gunning for second or third, Molina is known as one of the best defensive catchers of all time. Like his brothers Bengie and José were, Molina's arm accuracy is off the charts and has earned the catcher multiple Gold Gloves. He and longtime Cards starter Adam Wainwright set the record for the most wins as a starting battery earlier this year. Molina has indicated that he's retiring from the MLB after this season to manage the Navegantes del Magallanes team in Venezuela.

In an interview, Votto's comments about Molina paralleled his own career as a (so-far) permanent Red.

"I really admire what he's done behind the plate for the St. Louis Cardinals, and to do it in one uniform – St. Louis knew they had something with him," Votto said. "He's been in one uniform his entire career. You have to do a lot of things to be able to stay in one uniform."

Watch Votto talk about Pujols and Molina below.

2023 spring training schedule set

With the Reds' playoff hopes likely flushed down the toilet again, it's already time to start thinking ahead to 2023. MLB announced Aug. 31 that spring training would begin Feb. 24. See below for the press release.
2023 Spring Training will officially begin on Friday, February 24th with a pair of Cactus League games before all 30 Major League Clubs play in Cactus and Grapefruit League games on Saturday, February 25th.

Select games featuring World Baseball Classic teams will be played at various Spring Training facilities on Wednesday, March 8th and Thursday, March 9th. Additional information, including WBC team locations, will be announced in the coming months.

A number of exhibition games at Major League ballparks will be played beginning on Sunday, March 26th through Tuesday, March 28th. The 2023 regular season will begin with all 30 Clubs playing their opening game of the season on Thursday, March 30th, featuring nine divisional match-ups and three Interleague contests among the 15 games.
The Cincinnati Reds will kickstart the 2023 season with a home opener against NL Central opponent the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30 at Great American Ball Park. In a twist, each MLB team will meet each other on the field at least once during the season. In addition, all 30 franchises are scheduled to play opening day on March 30 – the first time every team will do so on the same date since 1968.

Votto had rotator cuff surgery Aug. 19 and will miss the remainder of the 2022 season. The Reds say he'll recover in time for spring training.

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