Future Hall of Famer and Grade-A booth analyst Joey Votto had 8,130 career plate appearances under his belt when he strode to the plate in the fifth inning of last night's Opening Day game. The Cincinnati Reds stalwart had never, ever popped out to the pitcher in any of those chances. He famously had also never popped out to the first baseman either during his first 13 years before that incredible streak came to an end in 2019. But lightning struck thanks Max Fried and a defensive shift.
Once the play was officially in the books as a P-1, ESPN tasked resident baseball historian Tim Kurkjian for context. And anyone who knows anything about Kurkjian knows that this was his Super Bowl.
"Two popouts to the catcher in his career. Two to the first baseman and zero to the pitcher until tonight. That's the first time he's ever popped out to the pitcher. Flying down here for this trip I said the only thing I want to happen on Opening Night when we have the game is for Joey Votto to pop out to the pitcher and it happened. It's unbelievable."
Like a kid in a candy store.
Baseball season is officially back. It will be even more back when Scott Van Pelt sends Kurkjian into a fit of laughter by saying "Joey Votto" — a name tailored in a lab for maximum Beltway accent.