Jays’ Joey Votto shares emotional letter on social media

On an off-day for the Toronto Blue Jays, Joey Votto took to social media to share his thoughts about how an incident that occurred six years ago feels to him now that he’s a member of his hometown team.

In a three-page letter penned in cursive writing and then shown as a photo on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday night, Votto, 40, discusses the time in 2018 when he expressed having little connection with Canada after fellow Canadian James Paxton threw a no-hitter for the Seattle Mariners against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

While Votto apologized to fans and Paxton days after his comments on a 2018 podcast — “I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball. I wasn’t raised inside of Canadian baseball really. I’m coming up on half of my life being in the United States working and being supported by American baseball,” were some of his original words — he said Monday he had “some reflections on my previous comments around Canadian baseball.”

Votto shared Monday that his mother, Wendy, wrote him a letter after his original comments that affected him the most.

“She admonished me for my words,” Votto wrote. “The respect and gratitude I should have for growing up and being in one of the safest, best educated, healthiest and most peaceful countries in the world. She let me know this is not how you were raised and that I should check my ego and perspective.”

While Votto said he was annoyed with the letter at first, over time it started to hit him that it was “time to learn.”

“I sat down with her letter, sad, ashamed and angry at my words,” he wrote. “Listening to them again, I realized how wrong I was.”

Votto said he wrote a letter back to his mom saying he would be “be better” and grow.” He asked for her forgiveness.

Wrapping up Monday’s letter, Votto said he received a picture of himself in a Blue Jays uniform on the cover of a Toronto newspaper.

“It’s interesting to me to hear my internal dialogue, now from then as I look at the image. Truthfully, I may or may not play for our country’s team this year. Either way, I just want those interested to know a meaningful lesson has been learned.

“Like my mother has, I hope you can forgive me.”

After Votto’s letter was released, he was praised by Baseball Canada.

The 2010 National League MVP signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays earlier this month. Votto homered in his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies before rolling his ankle in the dugout.

The six-time all-star is considered day-to-day.

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