Reds star Joey Votto personally apologizes to 6-year-old fan after he was ejected from game

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Posted at 10:29 AM, Jun 21, 2021

Plenty of Cincinnati Reds fans were frustrated by Joey Votto’s first-inning ejection on Saturday against the San Diego Padres, but 6-year-old Abigail was heartbroken.

Her mother, Greenville, Ohio, native Kristin Courtney, wrote on Twitter it was Abigail’s first-ever Major League Baseball game. Their family had traveled from Los Angeles to San Diego to see the Reds play, and Abigail arrived in a Joey Votto T-shirt.

And then the ejection. Votto had gotten into an argument with San Diego Padres players, leading umpires to boot him and Reds manager David Bell from the game.

Words can’t do much justice to the picture that Courtney posted from Petco Park:

Why does the first baseman mean so much to Abigail?

Simple reasons, her mother said. They have a dog named Joey Votto, and Abigail has discovered first base is her favorite position to play in tee-ball.

“She’s been watching and learning from Joey Votto (the person, not the dog), so that has really increased her interest in the game of baseball,” Courtney wrote in a message.

And the stormy start to Saturday’s game didn’t dull her enthusiasm in the end. Votto — the person, not the dog — sent his personal apology to Abigail on a signed baseball.

“Someone called me down to the dugout to give me the signed ball (we are in the fourth row behind the Reds dugout),” Courtney wrote. “I’m not sure who it was, but we are so grateful to Mr. Votto and the Reds!!!”

That wasn't all — Abigail and her family returned to Petco Park on Sunday, where she got to meet Votto in person.

The weekend didn’t have a happy ending for the Reds, who were swept by Padres in a four-game series. But it had a happy ending for one of their smallest fans, and that’s a different kind of home run.

This story was originally published by Sarah Walsh on Scripps station WCPO in Cincinnati.