Reds first baseman Joey Votto hasn’t had the best year from a P.R. perspective. He’s gotten angry at fans for interfering with a foul ball catch attempt, trolled Phillies fans, and stomped on a paper airplane. It seemed more to be Votto’s quirky sense of humor rather than actual malice, but it hasn’t really earned him any new fans.
Perhaps having learned his lesson, Votto was nothing but nice after catching a Wilmer Flores pop-up in foul territory down the first base line in the top of the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Mets. After catching the ball to end the inning, Votto promptly lobbed it to a fan who had lobbied for the souvenir. He then went to an adjacent fan and gave him a high-five, flashing his winning smile on his way back to the dugout.
As for actual baseball stuff, Votto came into the evening hitting an outstanding .312/.435/.524 with 22 home runs, 79 RBI, 85 runs scored, and a league-leading total of 99 walks in 563 plate appearances.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Brian Dozier hit a home run. After hitting three dingers in honor of workers’ rights on Labor Day, Dozier has clubbed another home run. Not only is it his fifth consecutive game with a homer, but it’s his 39th homer of the season. That ties the American League single-season record for home runs by a second baseman, also held by Alfonso Soriano who jacked 39 in 2002.
The overall record is 42, held by the Cardinals’ Rogers Hornsby (1922) and the Braves’ Davey Johnson (1973).
Dozier’s first-inning home run off of Dillon Gee cut the Twins’ deficit to 2-1. Shortly thereafter, Trevor Plouffe hit a solo homer of his own to tie the game. In the second inning, Eddie Rosario broke the 2-2 tie with another solo shot.
The Braves continue to hem and haw over signing former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. GM John Coppolella, though, says, “There’s no risk” in signing Tebow, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports.
If the club were to sign Tebow, he would be assigned to Double-A Mississippi next year after taking reps in the instructional league, which begins later this month. According to Bowman, the Braves would also pay Tebow a signing bonus of less than $100,000 and would not give him a non-roster invitation to spring training.
Braves scouts Brian Bridges and Roy Clark attended Tebow’s showcase last week. While most were unimpressed, the Braves are standing behind the scouts. “Our interest in Tim Tebow is predicated in our belief in Brian Bridges and Roy Clark. They went to see Tim more in the spirit of ‘Leave no stone unturned,’ and they liked what they saw. They thought he has the upside potential to help us. That is why we’re exploring the possibility of bringing him into the Braves organization.”
While it is easy to laugh at the notion of signing Tebow, Coppolella does have a point. The risk for any team to sign Tebow really is minimal. A sub-$100,000 signing bonus is a pittance compared to the clubs’ annual revenues. The Braves aren’t guaranteeing him a roster spot at the big league level or even at Triple-A. And his presence will certainly draw more people to attend minor league games in the southeast U.S.