Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto Yaps at Chicago Cubs Pitcher, Dugout After Late-Game Walk

by Bryan Fyalkowski

Joey Votto was mixing it up with the Chicago Cubs last night, for seemingly no reason at all.

The longtime Cincinnati Reds first baseman got into a yelling match with the visitors after drawing a four-pitch walk in the eighth inning against pitcher Rowan Wick.

With the Reds leading the Cubs 4-2 and Votto up to bat, Wick’s first pitch was a little bit up and in. Three pitches later, Wick threw low and walked the lefty on four pitches. Votto then reacted by emphatically tossing his bat towards the Cincinnati dugout before trotting to first base.

It was at that point that Wick apparently muttered towards Votto: “Nice bat flip.” The slugger took exception to that.

After getting to first base, Votto was seen yapping towards Wick and the Chicago dugout. Wick never responded to the talk – or even look that way – while the Cubs in the dugout seemed confused about what Votto could have even been upset about.

“If someone says something to me, sometimes I don’t answer, but I wasn’t in the mood to keep my mouth shut,” Votto said after the game. “You give it to me, no problem. I’ll give it back, you know.

“He had something to say and I answered. That’s how ball is sometimes. You’re competitive and, clearly, he was competing and locked in on performing well. I’m pulling on the opposite end of the same rope.”

Before throwing the next pitch, to Mike Moustakas, Wick stepped off the mound due to the distraction of Votto over his shoulder. It was at that point home plate umpire Dan Merzel called time to say something to the effect of “enough” to both Votto and the Cubs dugout.

“It’s part of the game,” Votto said. “It can be one of the more enjoyable parts of the game, you know, competing, some talk. I really enjoy that part of the game. Sometimes, it can be overextended, and it can be taken too far. But generally speaking, I enjoy that part as long as the other party is fine with taking it.”

Wick got out of the frame unscathed without allowing a run, while Votto left the basepaths with no further beef. Or so it seemed.

More Fireworks Expected Thursday?

In the next inning with Chicago up to bat, Reds pitcher Hunter Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead in the ninth frame.

After retiring the first hitter, third baseman Patrick Wisdom came to bat. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Strickland beaned Wisdom with a 96-mile-per-hour fastball in the elbow. Wisdom stood there for a second, stared at Strickland, and continued that look to first base. He took exception to what he thought was a purposeful hit by pitch.

Cubs manager David Ross came out of the dugout and started yelling at the umpire Merzel, who ejected him immediately. Ross got a bit more than two cents in and left the field. Strickland gave up a run, but was able to strand runners on the corners and save the 4-3 win for Cincinnati.

The Reds and Chicago wrap up their three-game series on Thursday with an 11:35 a.m. first pitch at Great American Ball Park. Let’s see if there are any more fireworks between these two clubs today.