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‘I’ll always be a Cincinnati Red’: Votto thanks fans in video

‘I’ll always be a Cincinnati Red’: Votto thanks fans in video

2:44 PM UTC

“If this is the last time I’ll play as a Cincinnati Red, I want to speak out loud my gratitude,” Votto said on a video he posted on multiple social media platforms. “I want to thank the community. I want to thank Cincinnati for being so welcoming.”

Votto, 40, received a $7 million buyout and became a free agent for the first time after the Reds didn’t pick up his $20 million club option. Although president of baseball operations Nick Krall did not shut the door completely on Votto being re-signed, he made it clear a return was unlikely since Cincinnati has several younger players — namely infielders — who need playing time.

In his video post, recorded at his Toronto home, Votto noted that it was initially intimidating moving to the United States from Canada as an 18-year-old to play professional baseball.

The same went for when he first arrived in Cincinnati in 2007.

“But it blossomed into the best stretch of my entire life,” Votto said. “It’s because of the Cincinnati community that I felt welcomed. The people on the street that would say hello and 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.”

Votto has played 17 Major League seasons, all for the Reds, and he won the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Award. He is also a six-time All-Star and among the leaders in franchise history in several offensive categories.

“I couldn’t have loved an experience more,” Votto said. “I’m so proud to have been able to play for a team, the oldest Major League team, to have played for a team that was endless gifts coming my way. I’m so humbled. I’m so grateful. It couldn’t have happened without all of you, without the Cincinnati community. I’ll always be a Cincinnati Red.”

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