Joey Votto: Aliens Will Help the Reds Become World Series Champs

He may not be wrong.

Feb 28, 2023 at 11:01 am
click to enlarge Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto signs items during Redsfest, held at Duke Energy Center downtown on Dec. 2-3, 2022. - Photo: Ron Valle
Photo: Ron Valle
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto signs items during Redsfest, held at Duke Energy Center downtown on Dec. 2-3, 2022.

A Cincinnati Reds player just predicted completely wacky things for the 2023 season, and honestly, we're here for it.

On Feb. 27, Major League Baseball's instagram account urged users, "Drop your boldest NL Central prediction" and tagged players from the division's teams to answer, including Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Wilson Contreras, Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto.

As of press time, only one player did as MLB had requested. And yes, Votto's thoughtful, reasonable, not-at-all-batshit theory was as glorious as you'd hope:
Extra terrestrials arrive on earth, April 15th. The 12-2 Reds and the rest of the planet learn from, communicate with, and befriend our alien friends. This process takes 5 months. Play resumes in October. The Reds sweep the playoffs and are World Series champs.
Side note: the aliens ask if I would like to accompany them on their ship back to their plant. I oblige. Never to be seen again
"We agree with @joeyvotto," the Reds' account added in the comments.
Votto has become a social media king, particularly on Instagram and TikTok where he regularly posts elaborate, thematic videos that feature his trademark wit. In recent posts, Votto has covered his workout regimen, his love of chess and a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden with catcher Tyler Stephenson. In August, just before the Reds and Cubs played in MLB's special Field of Dreams game, Votto shared emotional memories of playing catch with his father and watching the film the game was named after.
And Votto may be correct that the Reds could need extraterrestrial help to win the championship – or even a pennant – again. In 2022, the Reds posted their second-ever 100-loss season, ending with a record of 62-100. The losing also kept more fans at home, with the team experiencing its lowest season attendance since 1984; just 1,395,770 people saw the Reds play at Great American Ball Park in 2022, according to attendance records. Payroll for 2023 is lower than last season's, so fans may be in for a similar result this year.

Cincinnati last won the National League Central in 2012 and 2010. Before that, the team won the Central in 1995. The Reds haven't won the division or the World Series since 1990.

"I have higher expectations to be part of other large Major League moments," Votto said before the 2022 season began. "That’s without question concerning to me. I’ve been in the same uniform my entire career. We haven’t done enough winning."
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. The season comes with a twist – each MLB team will meet each other on the field at least once. 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's rehab

Votto, who was drafted by the Reds in 2002 and saw his first major-league game for the franchise in 2007, has played his entire career in a Reds uniform while reaching big-time club and league milestones. Despite the future Reds (and Cooperstown?) Hall of Famer's efforts, the Reds already were faltering in 2022 when Votto's nagging injuries finally screamed for help, culminating in season-ending rotator cuff surgery on Aug. 19.

As 2022 wrapped, officials projected that Votto would heal in time for spring training and the 2023 season. Votto had rehabbed during the off-season and is with the team now for spring training in Arizona, but both he and Reds manager David Bell acknowledged this month that it may take more time before he's on the field at Great American Ball Park.
"I have to get game reps," Votto told MLB writer Mark Sheldon. "I need at-bats. I need game-speed reps. I haven’t come close to taking those yet. I’ve never been in this position before."

Votto is in the final year of his 10-year, $225 million contract with the Reds and has a $20 million option for 2024.

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