Shoulder surgery ended Joey Votto’s season on Aug. 16, but that hasn’t kept the Cincinnati Reds first baseman away from the ballpark. Votto has made several appearances in the Bally Sports Ohio television broadcast booth in recent weeks and, during Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox (CIN 5, BOS 1), he wandered the Great American Ball Park stands greeting fans.
Here’s Votto roaming the ballpark while wearing Hall of Famer Barry Larkin’s No. 11 jersey:
“Most people weren’t happy to see me. They were just complimenting the jersey,” Votto joked after joining the broadcast booth in the middle innings. “They were just so excited to see me in a Larkin jersey. Covering up the dad bod? Absolutely, yes.”
Votto added: “I’ve never walked the stands and I’ve always wanted to see what a Reds game is like live. I’ve always wanted to connect with the fans and I was able to take a tour of the stadium. And it is, first of all, beautiful. And the fans seem happy to see me. And they were surprised. But the common theme was the compliments with the jersey. I borrowed this jersey from Tyler Stephenson. Not long ago, you signed it for him. And I don’t know, I felt a real pep in my step wearing this jersey. And took a little tour like I said of the stadium. It was such a great experience. So many great places to sit here. It’s a beautiful night. I don’t know, I don’t know why I did it. But I started it just hoping to say hello. And then I ended up going around the entire stadium. Full experience.”
Prior to the game, Votto was honored on the field as Cincinnati’s nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award. The award is given annually “to the player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
Votto, 39, hit .205/.319/.370 with 11 home runs in 91 games before needing surgery.