If there's a silver lining to Joey Votto's injury, it's the gifts he presents to baseball fans each time he's in the Cincinnati Reds' broadcast booth.
Since undergoing surgery on his rotator cuff Aug. 19, Votto has been having fun with his appearances at Great American Ball Park, most notably with John Sadak, Barry Larkin and Jim Day. The Reds first baseman routinely shares game insights with the broadcasters that make it clear he could have a new career once his playing days are over.
But it's Votto's quips that keep viewers coming back for more.
During the Reds' second-to-last game against the Chicago Cubs Oct. 4, Votto once again joined Sadak and Larkin in the booth for a Bally Sports Cincinnati broadcast. Votto – sporting a full dark beard and clad in a Cincinnati Royals sweatshirt – hunched over the counter, autographing a jersey with a marker.
"While we were away, you were signing a jersey. What is that?" Sadak asked Votto.
Votto looked up with no hint of a smile, explaining very patiently, "A jersey is what you put over your back when you're about to play a baseball game."
Sadak couldn't help but laugh as Votto continued to look at him like he was absurd for even asking the question.
Votto also showed his appreciation for DC Comics by bringing out his Joker impression for Day, who typically reports from the Reds dugout or foul lines rather than from the booth.
"Hey Jim, how about I put a smiiiiiiile on your face?" Votto hissed to Day.
"Don't make me come up there," Day replied in a voice that would be the perfect fit for a dopey cartoon parent but not for the Caped Crusader.
"Use the voice, dude. Jim, use the voice," Votto insisted.
Day tried again.
"To the Batmobile, Robin," Day said in the same voice.
Votto, who regularly teases Day during their interviews, laughed at Day's attempt, dismissing it immediately.
"Jim, that's like 1970s 'KA-POW' Batman," Votto said, referring to the campy TV series that starred Adam West and ran 1966-1968.
Sadak tried to break things up by suggesting a battle between West's Batman and the late Heath Ledger's Joker from the 2008 film The Dark Knight. "I don't think it would last very long," Sadak said, insinuating that Ledger would win.
"I'd like to see Jim in that 1970s Batman outfit, though," Votto suggested, sending Sadak into another laughing fit.
The exchanges were just the latest in Votto's broadcast adventures. The first baseman has teased Day multiple times about doing a segment called "Gym Day" and wearing shirts that highlight his nipples. While miked up for the season opener on April 7, Votto contemplated getting a gold tooth, even asking for opponents' opinions when they reached the bag.
Jim Day as Batman and Joey Votto as the Joker?— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) October 4, 2022
Sign us up! 🦇 pic.twitter.com/ICZfHI4gg0
The Reds beat Chicago 3-2 and will battle the Cubs Oct. 5 during the final homestand and regular-game of the season. The team is now 62-99 for 2022 and is looking to avoid a 100-loss year. The Reds have had just six winning (.500 or higher) seasons since 2000 and have not won the Central division since 2012.
Going into the Oct. 5 game with the Cubs, the Reds have been 16-28 since Votto's departure.