Man it was a good one this year for Cincinnati Reds' fans. The Reds won the NL Central for the first time in something like forever on the back of a great pitching core and young bats like those of Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs and, of course, Joey Votto.
The Reds had plenty of talent but Votto was the key piece to the puzzle. The Canadian-born first baseman took to America's Pastime like a fish to water and his hard working attitude fit in with the blue collar mindset of Cincinnati and southern Ohio.
Votto was on the “Doug Gottlieb Show” on ESPN Radio Monday night talking about the MVP recognition and showed flashes of the personality that makes him one of Cincinnati's most liked stars. Gottlieb asked him how he was going to celebrate. Votto said he would stop answering calls from the media, kick back and play some “Call of Duty” on Xbox.
His personality, however, isn't what won him the first MVP trophy earned by a Red since Barry Larkin.
He did that by batting .324 while hitting 37 home runs and knocking in more than 100 RBIs. His slugging percentage was .600 and while he wasn't a flashy base stealer, he was a good one, succeeding on 16 of 21 attempts.
With the Bengals returning to their original state of failure, the University of Cincinnati football team reverting to mediocrity and neither of the Queen City's NCAA men's basketball programs ranked in the Top 25, Monday's announcement was a like a warm summer breeze finding its way to sports fans in the Cincinnati market.
Carried along with that warm summer breeze was the promise that baseball season will come again.
When it does, the Reds, led by Joey Votto — no scratch that — the defending NL Central Champions Reds and the reigning NL MVP Joey Votto will be back again to show us that Ohio can indeed have a winning professional sports franchise.
It's 85 days until pitchers and catchers report to camp for the Reds. Until then, at least we've got the Buckeyes.
Go Bucks, beat Michigan!
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at email@example.com