Earlier this season, after Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto hit his 300th career home run, Votto said he sits at home dreaming of having a moment worthy of a curtain call.
Most of his favorite moments in his 15-year career with the Reds have been the games that clinched the team a playoff spot. But a few times over Votto’s 1,821 career games, he has had a personal accomplishment that he could tell the crowd at Great American Ball Park wanted to celebrate.
In April, Votto had one of those moments after his 300th career home run. On Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to the San Diego Padres, Votto had another.
On a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning, Votto produced his 1,000th career RBI. He became the fifth player in Reds history to have 1,000 RBI with the team, joining Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Tony Pérez, Pete Rose.
"I have mostly focused on being a tough at-bat and RBIs come mostly as a product of having hitters on base in front of you," Votto said. "This year is a perfect example. I’ve been so fortunate. I’ve come up to the plate with runners on base, it feels like twice or three times a game. I’m not even sure if I’ve done that well, in terms of driving runners in this year, I don’t know the numbers. But I’ve had a career of that."
Votto crushed a 90 mph cutter to right field that gave the Reds a 5-3 lead. Knowing he made great contact, Votto dropped his bat and watched the ball travel 401 feet into the moon deck in right field.
Once he reached the dugout, Votto high fived his teammates. But the crowd at Great American Ball Park didn’t stop cheering. Home plate umpire Nick Mahrley called time, allowing Votto to have his moment.
"It’s so much better when we’re winning," Votto said. "At the time, it put us up a couple of runs. That’s what the guys are about on the team. We all want to celebrate when we’re up. That’s how that moment felt."
Votto has said whether a player should go out for a curtain call should be decided by the fans. Following his home run on Wednesday, Votto sprinted out of the dugout and tipped his helmet to the crowd.
His philosophy on curtain calls?
“Try to get as many as you can in your career," Votto said. "Get out there and do it as soon as possible so the hitter can continue his at-bat."
After his home run swing, Votto improved his batting average over his last seven games to .333 with a .963 OPS. Over his last 15 games, Votto is hitting .315.
“I just want to be in the middle of the order, playing solid defense, playing every day, being competitive and earning that my manager, the coaching staff, the front office, my teammates have faith that I’m going to be a helpful teammate,” Votto said.
“I want to do that until the very end. I feel like I’ve been playing well. I need to continue to get better but I feel like I’ve been playing well and adjusting on the fly.”