Of course you do. Take it away, press-release whisperer:
All I know about Cigar City Beer is that I had a bunch of their stuff in Tampa when I was down at spring training and it was just wonderful, beautiful and phenomenal beer. All I know about Louisville Slugger maple bats is that, until about a year ago, we used to worry about them shattering a lot and writing think pieces about how we need to switch back to ash or make bat condoms to keep them from shattering. All I know about Operation Homefront is that supporting the families of deployed service members is an insanely worthy cause, and that that’s what they do.
But despite my limited expertise here, I am going to predict that this will be a win if, for no other reason, than it benefits said insanely worthy cause. And because I bet the bottles will be really cool.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.