Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  By HAL MCCOY  |  Last updated 8/19/13
CINCINNATI Anybody who ever put on a Little League baseball uniform at some time heard his coach yell at him while he was in the batters box: Dont swing at any bad ones, a walk is as good as a hit.Joey Votto still subscribes to that mantra and is not about to change to satisfy dissatisfied fans.There are those in Cincinnati Reds country who believe Votto takes too many walks, takes too many close pitches, that he should be the teams RBI man by swinging at marginal pitches with runners in scoring position.Votto leads the National League with walks and it isnt even close. He has 95, 14 more than the second most, 81 to teammate Shin Soo-Choo.Because of the walks and a .316 batting average, Votto also lead the National League in on-base average and it isnt even close, either. He is at .434, .019 higher than the second best, also Choo at .415.Pitchers can be kind of picky when they face me, Votto said. I strike out a lot (106) walk a lot and that leads to a lot of balls not put into play.But Im hitting for a high average (.316), he added. It is a real, real difficult game and to be successful you just cant swing at anything. Im an extremely greedy player. I come from the Pete Rose school of playing ball take every last ounce of this game that you can get by paying respect to your opposition and playing at the highest level and doing the best you can for your team. And if that last ounce ends up being a walk, thats all I can do.Votto doesnt go up looking for a walk, plotting to take a base on balls because he says, Im a greedy blankety-blank and I want every single RBI, I want every every single run, I want every single home run. But I cant do it, I cant do it.Votto says he hears the mumbling of discontent about taking too many walks and not driving in a box car full of runs.Yeah, sure, I hear the complaints and I think they are unfounded, he said. People think Ive switched my hitting approach in general, but Im the exact same guy, the exact same greedy blankey-blank. I do other things, too. Im in the top five in batting average om the top five in slugging. I just have to be more efficient with it because I get less opportunities, but thats OK.All I want to do is do what I can, said the 29-year-old first baseman who heard no complaints in 2010 when he took 91 walks and won the National League MVP. Sometimes I take a pitch, but I might be timing a pitch and looking at it for a future swing. Sometimes I take a pitch in the middle of the plate and people say, Ah, man, how can he take that pitch with runners in scoring position? Well, if I dont see that pitch why swing. And it might result in a better swing later in the at-bat and a better day in general.Sometimes being passive is better in the long run, Votto added. Sometimes there is a pitcher you just cant read, there are shadows, thousands of reasons. But sometimes I just need to see the ball to prepare my timing. Nothing drives me crazier, nothing, than going up to the plate ill-prepared and rushing to the first available pitch and making a quick out. Thats when Im at my angriest.Id much rather have tougher at-bats, see more pitches and do what Im doing now, he said. I dont want to go just go up and flail at pitches because that approach does not work for me in the long run. Ive tried it and it just doesnt work for me.Votto goes historical, not hysterical, when RBIs are discussed. He has 58 to the 91 owned by clean-up hitter Brandon Phillips.Ive looked up Mickey Mantles years, Ted Williams years, Barry Bonds years guys who walked a lot and some years those guys only drove in 70 or 80 or 90 runs and they were hitting 45 home runs. And I only have 18. I walked 120 or 130 times it becomes quite difficult to drive in all those runs. I have hit some balls very hard when Ive chances to drive in runs and guys were standing there making cathes. Thats part of the game.Votto is acutely aware of how he is perceived. Those on the inside, those who see him every day, know there isnt player on the planet who outworks him or prepares more than he does.I just hope the fans know that as long as I put a uniform on Im in survival mode, always trying to do the very best I can, he said. Always trying to get the last drop of everything I have.
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