During his long career with the Cincinnati Reds, first baseman Joey Votto has shown some serious baseball magic. Now he has the jersey to prove it.
Votto donned a Doctor Strange jersey during his rehab stint with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats on May 14. The game against the Toledo Mud Hens was the first of three in a partnership with Marvel Entertainment, keeper of the Marvel Comics flame and the studio behind the recently released film Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange is a powerful sorcerer who frequently teams up with other superheroes, primarily members of The Avengers, to thwart galactic threats.
The Doctor Strange jersey features a blue body with red sleeves with a large image of the sorcerer in mid-spell on the torso.
Votto landed on the injury list with COVID-19 symptoms on May 3, with just a .122 batting average and .278 on-base percentage over 90 plate visits. At the time, Reds manager David Bell said that the move was "precautionary," as Votto had not yet shown symptoms of the virus. Major League Baseball has 7-day, 10-day, 15-day and 60-day injury lists for typical impairments, but the COVID injury list has no required duration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that those who test negative but have symptoms stay home and away from others, wear a mask when separating from others is impossible, and continue to test until symptoms clear.
Before Saturday's game, Bell told reporters that it was "hard for me to know" how long Votto will remain in Louisville for rehabilitation. "It was encouraging that he’s playing tonight. Not too long ago, he wasn’t feeling well," he said on May 14.
The first baseman didn't do badly in the 7-1 win against Toledo on May 14, though, drawing two walks and hitting an RBI single to left field. The May 15 game was a little less exciting, with Votto striking out twice with one walk as the Bats lost 6-2. Bid here on jerseys worn by Votto and other Bats players. As of press time, Votto's jersey is commanding $530 with seven days left in the auction.
After a dismal start to the season, the Cincinnati Reds finally won their first series of 2022 against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 7 and 8. Since then, the Reds took two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park and split a second Pirates series. The team will visit intrastate American League rivals the Cleveland Guardians on May 17 and 18.
Prior to the first wins against the Pirates, the Reds had taken games only on April 7 and April 10 in Atlanta against the Braves as well as on April 24 when hosting the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati had an 11-game stretch of losses between the Braves and Cardinals wins and broke out of a nine-game funk with the May 7 win over the Pirates.
Even with the latest wins, the Reds have been swept in six of their 11 series as of press time. The Reds have Major League Baseball's worst current record at 9-26 and own the franchise's record for its worst start to a season. Baseball experts also say that the Reds are on pace for a 125-loss season, the lowest for any team since 1900.
The team continues to get backlash from fans who feel the Reds' owner and front office aren't doing enough to win, with one person even saying they wanted to "defecate in the bed of the Toyota Tundra" that's on display at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.