Votto forged bond with RBI program in ’21

CINCINNATI — The Reds Community Fund has been operating Cincinnati’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities — or RBI program — since 2007. But in 2021, the Reds’ RBI program achieved something it had never done by having both its senior baseball and softball teams reach the RBI World Series.

Both teams, and the Community Fund, remain thankful for having Reds first baseman Joey Votto in their corner all year. Votto, the club’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award this year, frequently visited the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy and spent time coaching and speaking with the players.

“We’re thankful for the year we had on the heels of such a chaotic 2020,” Reds Community Fund executive director Charley Frank said. “We are beyond grateful for the role that Joey played this year and the way he played it.”

In May while on the injured list with a fractured left thumb, Votto made good use of the time he had when he wasn’t doing therapy or rehabilitation. He often visited the youth academy to coach kids from the RBI program.

The connection continued into late July after the senior baseball and RBI teams advanced out of their regional tournaments and into the World Series. In the midst of a stretch where he enjoyed a Reds franchise record seven straight games with a home run, Votto was back at the academy and spent 2 1/2 hours working with both teams.

“We…

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