In what is being dubbed "not giving a ball to a kid-gate," -- copyright, Sports Talk Philly, LLC. -- Cincinnati Reds first-baseman Joey Votto taunted Philadelphia Phillies fans on two occasions this afternoon by pretending to throw a ball to them after an inning before electing to keep the ball as he headed into the dugout.
On one occasion, Phillies Hall of Fame third-baseman and current announcer Mike Schmidt took exception to Votto appearing to fake-out a kid, and decided to autograph a ball for the young fan and have it sent down to him to make up for what he seemed to think was a classless move by the 2010 National League MVP.
Votto told a group told reporters (video above), including those from Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, that his taunts weren't intended to be disrespectful to any children, but rather to play with a fanbase that he enjoys playing against.
"I was just having fun with them. You know, they give you a hard time during the game and that's my way of giving them a hard time back. Really, it's just me playing around. I was telling, I think it was [Freddy] Galvis, just how much fun I have coming here because there just such an energized bunch and they get on you if you're not doing your job, they get on you if you're on the other team, if you give them a hard time. So, it's a really fun group here."
While the optics of pretending to throw a ball to a child in the crowd only to hold onto it aren't good, Votto came off as pretty genuine after the game. He didn't seem to mean any harm to anyone, and suggested that a majority of the fans he faked throwing the ball to thought him teasing them was a fun part of the afternoon.