Joey Votto creates foundation to help those suffering from PTSD


Joey Votto contributes to a good cause on the baseball field by getting on base nearly one out of every two times he comes to the plate, and hitting for power to boot. But now he’s contributing to a great cause off the field with the creation of the Joey Votto Foundation, aimed to support victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

PTSD is a condition people tend to develop after a traumatic event, as the name would imply. The condition is commonly linked with service men and women returning from combat overseas, but affects victims of sexual assault, nonsexual violence, and in Votto’s case, an unexpected death of a close family member or friend. As Votto details in a column for the Cincinnati Enquirer, his father died unexpectedly and it affected Votto profoundly. It wasn’t until he received treatment for PTSD that he understood the magnitude of the condition.

In 2008, during my second year in the majors, my father passed away suddenly. My grief led to overwhelming panic attacks and bouts of depression that landed me on the disabled list due to stress the following season.

I received much needed and very effective treatment.

Without it, I am not sure where I would be today.

I’ve combined my personal perspective on the healing power of clinical professionals with my appreciation for the deserving military heroes who need similar help. As a result, my off-the-field focus these days is on fighting for the cause of veterans and service members who need help healing their nonphysical wounds.

While Votto has been a polarizing figure recently in the ongoing feud between fans of traditional stats and fans of Sabermetrics, the Joey Votto Foundation is something everyone can get behind and support.

Shohei Ohtani is having a brutal spring training

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Spring training is tough for players under the best of circumstances. Even in an age when players work out all year, getting back into the swing of baseball-at-full-speed is tough. Many players spend the bulk of February and March knocking off the rust and getting their timing back. Because of this — and because the games have no real stakes — it is not wise to take spring training statistics super seriously. Especially if the player in question is assured of a spot on the roster and is trying to avoid injury before the regular season arrives.

Spring training for Shohei Ohtani is doubly difficult. Not only does he have to knock the rust off from the offseason, but he (a) has to get used to a new country and language; (b) has to get to know all new teammates, coaches and, really, an entirely new baseball culture; and (c) do all of that while dealing with a media crush that hasn’t been seen in baseball since Ichiro first arrived 17 years ago. In short, Ohtani is under massive pressure and has to make massive adjustments in a short time.

With that said, neither the Angels nor Ohtani can be all that pleased with how his spring training has gone. In two actual major league exhibition games he’s allowed eight runs in two and two-thirds innings. Seven of those came on Friday when he was shelled by the Rockies in an inning and a third. If you include B-games against minor leaguers, he has allowed 17 runs on 18 hits, four of which were homers, in four games. As a hitter he’s 2-for-20.

As Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register notes, Ohtani’s peripherals are not bad, as he has struck out a lot of guys and walked very few and the average on balls in play against him has been brutal, which is not super sustainable. Bad luck and some fat pitches at a time of the year when luck doesn’t really matter and the pitches, because of the rust, are likely to be fatter than normal.

As Fletcher also notes, Nolan Arenado, who faced Ohtani on Friday, said that his stuff looked good and that he’s going to be a good big league pitcher. Ohtani and Angels officials are all striking the right notes about bad luck and adjustments, saying that they’re not worried.

I imagine they’d be worrying even less if things had gone well this spring. Unless of course this is just a professional wrestling-style work aimed at getting more of us to watch his regular season debut, in which he’ll reveal that he was sandbaggin’ all along.