Joey Votto did not have his $20 million team option picked up by the Cincinnati Reds, putting his future with the team he has spent nearly two full decades with in question.
Votto, for the first time ever, looks like he could very well sign with another MLB team. It sounds as if he wants to continue playing, though one has to believe retirement could be considered. Votto is 40 years old.
On Sunday morning, Votto decided to speak to Reds fans, posting a four-minute-long video of him sitting in an Adirondack chair in the crisp fall air speaking and reflecting on what his time with Cincinnati has meant to him.
It's raw and unfiltered, and highly complimentary of the city and its fanbase.
Here it is in its entirety:
Joey Votto gets emotional in possible goodbye with Reds fans
The sum of the message relayed over nearly four minutes is how Votto opened: "I wanted to speak directly to you all. After yesterday's news, I just wanted to say thank you. You know, if this is the last time I'll play as a Cincinnati Red, I want to speak out loud my gratitude. I want to thank the community. I want to thank Cincinnati for being so welcoming."
Votto reflected on how scary coming up the big league squad was at first for him, and how the community made it easier:
"It blossomed into the best stretch of my entire life. And it's because of the Cincinnati community that I felt welcomed. The people on the street that would say hello, that would wish me and our team well, the first responders in the community that were always available and made me feel safe and [cared] for. Coming from a big city, it was such an enjoyable experience, living the daily routine in Cincinnati. The travel to and from, seeing familiar faces on the street."
Clearly holding back tears at certain points in the candid video, Votto gave humorous asides about still, even in year 17, getting confused by how the city's roads worked.
He closed saying he was proud, humbled, and grateful to play for the Reds and in front of fans.
"I'll always be a Cincinnati Red," Votto said.