Joey Votto pens heartfelt message to all of Canada, apologizes for past comments

The new Blue Jay sent an open and honest letter to his home country and home city, asking for forgiveness.

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Joey Votto
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Joey Votto / Cole Burston/GettyImages

Joey Votto has only been part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization for a week and a half, but he has already given us an abundance of lasting memories.

There are the old photos of the now 40-year-old legend sporting a Blue Jays bib as a toddler, the images of the career Cincinnati Red suited up in Jays gear for the first time, and his spring training debut when he hit what was deemed a home run. There's even his funny quip about rolling his ankle in the dugout. Whatever the situation, Votto is always good for an honest and usually amusing quote.

However, the latest from the desk of Joey Votto comes with a little more of a heavy heart and dark history.

On Monday, Votto posted a letter on his X account addressing his infamous past comments about Canadian baseball. The emotional, handwritten letter is an explanation and apology for his 2018 comments about his feelings toward Canadian baseball and the Blue Jays.

Votto making amends for harsh comments about Canadian baseball

Going on six years ago now, arguably the greatest Canadian baseball player in history ripped the hearts out of Canadian baseball fans with his heartless and shockingly tone-deaf words.

"I don’t care almost at all about Canadian baseball," Votto told the Yahoo! Sports Major League Baseball podcast in 2018. "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."

This came after James Paxton became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter on Canadian soil, against the Blue Jays — a feat that Votto seemed entirely unimpressed by. He certainly didn't win any fans and likely lost a good many after sharing his thoughts on the topic.

"As far as Toronto, and Canadian baseball, and the country of Canada, and (James Paxton) being Canadian, I don’t care at all," Votto added. "(Paxton), or the Jays, or Canada, in general, may disagree with that, but I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass about that."

Votto's emotional letter asks Canada for forgiveness

In the heartfelt letter posted on Monday, Votto was honest and open about his shame thinking back to those harsh words.

“Oof, wow, I cringe and am ashamed as I re-write my words,” Votto wrote after recapping his 2018 thoughts.

He explained how his mother's disappointment in his comments eventually made him see the error of his ways.

“I received, and still receive occasional criticism for my comments, but it was my mother’s disappointment that hurt me the most,” Votto wrote. “A letter from her, while I was away working in the U.S. She admonished me for my words. ... She let me know, this is not how you was raised and that I should check my ego and perspective."

His second and more recent wake-up call came when he finally realized his boyhood dream of playing for the Blue Jays.

"Today I was sent a picture of me in a Jays uniform on the cover of our city paper. It's interesting to me to hear my internal dialogue, now from then as I look at the image," Votto wrote. "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."

His final line is possibly the most vulnerably open and heart-tugging part of the entire letter.

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

A professional baseball player who has reached the pinnacle of his sport — a former NL MVP and six-time All-Star — showing the humility to ask his home country and city for forgiveness is the most Canadian of Canadian things. And as Canadian baseball fans, we should wholeheartedly agree to grant his request.

You're forgiven, Joey.