The Perils of an MVP

Sometimes it’s tough being your team’s best player (to some) and the reigning NL MVP. Just look at what happened yesterday to Joey Votto. One play in a Reds 11-2 win created a buzz…

Setting the stage here. Top of the 4th with the Reds trailing 2-1. Reds starter has begun the inning by walking the Braves center fielder Nate McLouth. Derek Lowe, the Braves starter, is due at the plate in an obvious sacrifice situation.

Then, the following happened…

Lowe puts down the bunt and it is fielded by Votto who whips and turns toward second base in an attempt to force McLouth at second. As he throws that direction, his throws drifts a bit to the right field side of the bag, A collision occurs between McLouth and Reds shortstop Zack Cozart. The result is ultimately diagnosed as a hypertension of Cozart’s left elbow. Also, all hands are safe on the play.

Check the repay again if you felt led to do so. When Votto fields the ball, he immediately appears to have made up his mind of throwing to second. In his haste, Votto does not set his feet in order to make the throw causing is throw to sail practically into McLouth’s back. In an effort to catch the throw, Cozart is hung out to dry as he is now in a bad position due to the nature of Votto’s throw.

This one play provided a worrisome moment before Reds fans knew of the prognosis in Cozart. It is still worrisome. I’ll get to that in a moment. The Twitterverse exploded and was immediately divided into two camps: Votto supporters and those that criticized the play of the reigning NL MVP.

It did get out of hand. Those that criticized the play instantly (as is the case of Twitter) felt the need for defensing their critical analysis. In my mind, it wasn’t really a necessity for them to do so.

I have no issue trying to cut down the lead runner as long as you are 100% sure on making the play. I didn’t really see that as the case here as McLouth, who still carries a bit of speed, may have been too far to second when Votto made his attempted throw. Sure, it wasn’t a good bunt by Lowe, and it did find Votto rather quickly. Go to first and get the sure out. Don’t put your pitcher in a precarious situation. Or your shortstop either.

Make all the remarks and comments you want about hindsight being 20/20. I said all of this to myself when this happened. All those that were critical of Votto’s throw may have only looked at the end result…Cozy’s injury. It must also be pointed out that the Braves did not score. In fact, the Braves, despite stranding numerous runners, did not cross the plate anymore for the game. Reds won 11-2. So why the stink about this?

We may now be blessed with seeing more of Edgar Renteria.

He did have the game-winning hit yesterday…