In the aftermath of Joey Votto‘s detrimental comments towards Canadian baseball, Baseball Canada head coach and national team director Greg Hamilton is focusing not on the player’s recent words but on his actions over the course of his career.
“My immediate reaction was — and I guess people may find this funny — I felt for Joey,” Hamilton said during an interview on Prime Time Sports Wednesday evening. “Just, obviously knowing where that was probably going to go and the life that that would understandably take on social media and in general in the overall Canadian context, you kind of went, ‘Oh boy, that’s probably not where you want to be and not where you want to go.’ So that was kind of my initial feeling, certainly knowing him.”
Votto’s comments, made during a Yahoo! Sports MLB podcast released Tuesday, were in response to a question about Seattle Mariners pitcher (and fellow Canadian) James Paxton’s no-hitter thrown last week in Toronto against the Blue Jays.
“I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball,” Votto, who hails from Toronto, said via the podcast. “I wasn’t raised inside of Canadian baseball really. I’m coming up on half of my life being in the United States working and being supported by American baseball.”
“From my context and our context, that’s not reflective of the actions of Joey Votto as it relates to the Canadian National Baseball program,” said Hamilton, who also spoke with Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi on the topic. “He’s been very supportive over the years, he’s been very involved, he’s been very caring and very consistent in doing that.
The Cincinatti Reds first baseman has since apologized both with a written statement and during a Blue Jays Central interview with Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell, calling his comments “embarrassing” and coming from a place of “pettiness” and “jealousy.” (You can watch that interview at the top of this post.)
“I can’t jump in the middle of the narrative, and I certainly can’t answer for where Joey’s thoughts were and what he said, because only Joey can do that,” Hamilton continued, “but I can only speak to the care that he shows to us and the involvement and the genuineness that he’s done that with over the years.”
Listen to the full segment below, beginning at the 01:14:00 mark: