Votto, who played for Canada at the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics and won the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s athlete of the year in 2010 and 2017, distanced himself from his home country in an interview with Yahoo! Sports Major League Baseball podcast.
“I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball,” said Votto, who was also the National League MVP in 2010. “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.”
But in an email posted on the Canadian Baseball Network website after the Reds lost 5-3 to the San Francisco Giants Tuesday night, Votto said he is “terribly ashamed” of his comments and called them “ridiculously selfish and short-sighted.”
Votto added: “I am saddened that I was so flagrant with my remarks and more importantly that I offended so many people that mean so much to me.”
Votto’s initial comments came after he was asked about James Paxton of Ladner, B.C., throwing his recent no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners against the Blue Jays in Toronto, becoming the first Canadian in MLB history to do so on home soil.
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“As far as Toronto, and Canadian baseball, and the country of Canada, and (James Paxton) being Canadian, I don’t care at all,” said Votto. “(Paxton), or the Jays, or Canada, in general, may disagree with that, but I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that.”
Votto did clarify in the podcast that he was happy for Paxton as a baseball player, but not as a fellow Canadian.
In his apology, Votto said being asked about baseball in Canada, the Blue Jays and the Paxton no-hitter recalled his resentment for not making Team Canada or being drafted by the Blue Jays out of high school and not being picked for the Olympic team while in the minors.
“Clearly my reply came out of a side of jealousy for a Canadian baseball athlete being celebrated in the city of Toronto. It was an odd reply and one I am terribly ashamed of,” he wrote.
“I go back to Toronto each off-season and feel renewed every time I cross the border to my home and native land. I would not be where I am now without the efforts of so many Canadian baseball people and the fans of Canadian baseball.
“To James Paxton, the Blue Jays, the Toronto fans, the women and men all across Canada that work so hard to promote and support Canadian baseball, I am sorry for my selfish comments and I humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
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