Joey Votto traded a bunch of his stuff to a fan to get back Zack Cozart's first All-Star Game hit
You may have missed this in last night's All-Star Game, amid the Nelson Cruz-Joe West photo and Yadier Molina's gold chocolate foil catcher's gear, but during the third inning of action in Miami, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart picked up a single in his first ever Midsummer Classic at-bat. And not only was it his first hit in All-Star play, but it was also the first hit for a Reds player in the game since 2010, a streak of 25 straight at-bats.
All well and good for Cozart and Cincinnati, and definitely one of those moments where you'd imagine that the player gets the ball back as a keepsake. Except in this case, the ball was kept in play and subsequently fouled out of play by the next batter, Charlie Blackmon, at which point a Marlins Park security guard tossed it to a kid in the stands.
A sad ending for Cozart's bit of history, right? Not with fellow Reds All-Star and amateur detective Joey Votto on the case. Via C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Votto, who didn’t enter the game until the eighth inning, saw a security guard pick up the ball and hand it to a kid in the stands.
Votto alerted the Marlins public relations department, telling them he’d like to get the ball, Cozart’s first All-Star hit. Votto told Rob Butcher, the Reds media relations director, to go to his locker in the National League clubhouse and grab anything and he’d sign it to exchange for the ball. The kid, 13-year-old Nick Castagna, ended up with a signed Votto bat and two signed All-Star baseballs. Cozart got a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Shouts to Votto for looking out for his teammate, and not for the first time this season, either. Recall, if you will, Votto's promise to Cozart that, if he made the All-Star team, the slugging first baseman would reward him with ... a donkey. Cozart did make it—he was even voted in as the starter at shortstop—and Votto is keeping up his end of the bargain, though not to everyone's joy.
“We’re all going to have to deal with it,” lamented Cozart’s wife, Chelsea, who has begrudgingly accepted the fact that the couple’s two miniature pinschers will soon have another animal in the brood. “Zack’s dream donkey is here.”
Maybe Votto should've stopped at getting Cozart his ball. That's a lot easier to house/display than a donkey, anyway.