Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pete Rose's helpful advice has stuck with Joey Votto


Anybody who has ever watched Joey Votto play baseball knows that there is something different about him.

The Canadian native approaches the game unlike any of his peers. Votto's tedious approach to hitting and incredible work ethic are second to none. Perhaps those are just two of the reasons why he is widely regarded as one of the elite players in Major League Baseball.

On Wednesday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com published a great feature piece on Cincinnati's star, which gives further background on how he became the player he is today. One of the nuggets in the article is about how Votto has forged a bond with baseball's all-time hit king Pete Rose.

In the article, Votto recollected an encounter he had with Rose while standing in the on-deck circle at Great American Ball Park several seasons ago. Rose was watching intently from a front row seat and eventually struck up a conversation with the left-handed slugger. It was during that conversation when Votto received a piece of wisdom that he still remembers to do this day.

"Early in my career, Pete kept an eye on me," Votto said, "and the one piece of advice he gave me was, 'When you get the second hit, get the third hit. And when you get the third hit, get the fourth hit. And when you get the fourth hit, get the fifth hit.' That really stuck with me, because it's a genuine challenge when you're tired, or you're sick, or the score is mismatched, or you're facing a tough pitcher, or you're not in a good mood that day. Whatever it is.

"What I took away from Pete's advice is, 'You're playing for yourself. You're competing for your team. You're doing the best you can every day to get the most out of your abilities.' So when I have that at-bat when the score is 10-0, yeah, I usually check in with myself and make sure I'm in a prime place to hit and I'm ready to go and I'm not about to give away this at-bat. I'll take my time before the at-bat or call timeout so there's no excuses and nothing I can look back and regret."

Rose referred to this pearl of advice as always striving to "reach for the last cookie in the jar." Basically, it means never be content with your successes, and in baseball terms, never waste an at-bat, which I'm pretty sure Rose rarely ever did. He was the definition of a tough out for pitchers.

The article also includes several quotes from teammates gushing over Votto's hitting ability and even boasts a little snippet on Shin-Soo Choo. I believe it's a must read for any Reds fan out there. Especially with an off day looming on Thursday. Here's the link.

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