Joey Votto, preparing to smash a baseball. PHOTO: Geoff Livingston, CC License
In addition to being quietly excellent at baseball, Votto from one large piece of evidence is quietly a great guy. Here is that one piece of evidence: he brought a man with terminal cancer, Jeff Crews, to a Reds game. Crews, diagnosed with Type IV Glioblastoma and given 4-6 weeks to live a month prior, was brought to batting practice, hung out with Votto a lot, and then sat right behind home plate for the game. Yes, it's easy for gazillionaires like Votto to spend 1% of what they are making that day to do some good guy stuff, but the details of this story, as recorded in the blog of Crews' son, that make Votto seem like the gentle giant one imagines he is. First the preamble at batting practice:
We were given field passes for batting practice on Tuesday as well as some fantastic seats for the game. The entire day was amazing – starting with the Cincinnati reds employees who gave us extra field passes without any hesitation – All six of the adults in our family were then able to experience batting practice. We got onto the field on Tuesday and were simply blown away. Jeff literally had to hold his chin up because it kept falling down in disbelief at what we were experiencing. Dusty Baker came over for autographs and a picture, as well as Todd Frazier. Then the moment came when Joey walked over to meet us.
Then, enter Votto. It seems the entire Crews family was star struck:
The Crews family had a connection to Votto, which undoubtedly helped make this happen, but Votto just seems like a swell guy. The sort of guy kids imagine baseball players are like.
Joey Votto couldn’t have been a nicer, more humble, and down to earth guy. He talked with my dad for a long time (we know Jeff can be a talker). Joey saw us trying to interrupt Dad for a picture and quietly said to him “sir would you like to get a picture for your kids?” – it was effective at getting dads attention! Joey then gave Jeff an autographed authentic bat. It is a Joey Votto bat with the official engravings on it and a nice note from Joey. After a few autographs, and what felt like an eternity of standing their drooling and not coming up with anything significant to say, Joey went back to practice. It was a fantastic experience that none of us will ever forget. A million thanks to Jess Litscher, April Trebnick, The Reds, and Joey Votto.
Jeff Crews died two days later, on July 4th. The game he went to was Homer Bailey's no hitter, which ended like this: