The rarest thing in baseball just happened

Justin Berl/Getty Images
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Joey Votto popped out to first base. Yes, it’s true: after 6,827 plate appearances in which he never once popped up to the first baseman, Votto did just that on Wednesday afternoon against the Dodgers.

With two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the eighth inning facing Pedro Báez, Votto worked a 3-1 count before hitting a change-up up in the air in foul territory. Cody Bellinger made the grab.

Votto has been famously stingy with the pop-ups. According to FanGraphs, he has a 1.1 percent infield fly ball rate for his entire career. He didn’t pop up once in 2016 or ’18, and didn’t this season until today. The major league average pop-up rate since 2007, Votto’s first season in the majors, ranged between 9.3 and 10.6 percent. Among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances since 2007, the only other players with a pop-up rate below two percent are Ryan Howard (1.5%) and Howie Kendrick (1.7%).

Votto went 0-for-3 with a walk on the afternoon. The future Hall of Famer is now batting .228/.323/.386 with a home run and three RBI on 65 plate appearances this season.

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”