Recognized mostly for his prolific power and razor sharp eye at the plate, Joey Votto’s Gold Glove caliber defensive skills are far too often overlooked at the first base position. Perhaps that will begin to change a little bit after Sunday afternoon, because Votto turned in one of the slickest defensive plays you’ll see.
As Logan Schafer's second inning chopper slowly made its way into no man's land between Votto, pitcher Bronson Arroyo and second baseman Brandon Phillips, the Cincinnati Reds first baseman charged and made a nifty barehanded pickup. With his momentum bringing him forward, Votto realized stopping and planting to make a conventional throw was out of the question. So he improvised, and the result was an incredible behind-the-back flip that was right on the money to the covering Arroyo, and just in time to record the inning's final out.
It was about as close to Mark Buerhle territory as a defensive gem can get at first base without crossing the line. Votto deserves credit for his quick-thinking and creativity in the middle of a fast paced play. There was a great deal of athleticism and coordination involved as well, because just look at what he had to execute to make it work. But above all else you have to applaud Votto's effort.
He was determined to make that play for his pitcher, and he found a way that will be remembered for a long time in Cincinnati.