Joey Votto on his critics: “I’m not going to use the word ignorant — but ignorant.”

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Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman recently remarked that the team is in “deep trouble” if first baseman Joey Votto is content with leading the league in on-base percentage again. Yep, that sure sounds like a nightmare scenario. It’s ridiculous that half-baked comments like this even need a response, but Votto attempted to address continued criticism of his approach at the plate upon arriving to Reds camp today in Goodyear, Arizona.

Below are some quotes from Votto’s Q & A session with reporters earlier today, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:

“I have to be careful with what I say. In terms of being in the middle of it, sometimes I think it’s really, really silly. I’m not going to use the word ‘ignorant,’ but ignorant. I also think there’s some validity to it because it’s coming from a perspective that is being nostalgic. … Ultimately, it’s entertainment. I’m part of the entertainment industry. If there weren’t debates like this then, what the hell are we doing? I think this is great.

“I’m the big money guy. I’m the guy that is supposed to do certain things and has done certain things in the past and it’s expected in the future. I’m not doing it so let’s talk about it, let’s get after it and I think that it’s great. I’m glad I can be a lightning rod, as long as I’m a lightning rod while performing one way or the other. Whether it’s the 2010 version or the 2013 version, you cannot deny that I haven’t performed and been able to provide value for the team and able to help the team get to the playoffs. Both examples, I was part of a playoff team. I’m not saying the main part or anything like that, but I was a part of it. As long as I’m part of it, it’s the most important thing. I think it’s fun. No one is getting hurt. I should expect it.”

Well done. The biggest issue with Votto isn’t his approach at the plate, but his health. He had knee issues in 2012 and was limited to just 62 games last season due to a distal strain of his left quad. While he still has to be seen by doctors and the training staff, he said today that he feels “good” and is “hopeful” of being in the lineup on a daily basis again this season.

Votto owns a .417 career on-base percentage, which is the highest among all active players. The 31-year-old is owed $213 million through 2023.