Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto apologized for his comments belittling fellow Canadian James Paxton's accomplishment of throwing a no-hitter in Toronto, writing that his remarks "came out of a side of jealousy."
Votto, who is from Toronto, said in a podcast released Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports that he "couldn't give a rat's ass" about Paxton being the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter on his home country's soil.
"I don't care almost at all about Canadian baseball," Votto said on the podcast. "I wasn't raised inside of Canadian baseball really. I'm coming up on half of my life being in the United States working and being supported by American baseball."
He added: "As far as Toronto, and Canadian baseball, and the country of Canada, and [James Paxton] being Canadian, I don't care at all."
In an apology written for the Canadian Baseball Network, Votto said he was "ridiculously selfish and short-sighted" with his answer and is "saddened that I was so flagrant with my remarks and more importantly that I offended so many people that mean so much to me."
Votto won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2017 as Canada's athlete of the year, the second time he won the award, and he played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013. But those appearances didn't come until he was already established in the majors as an All-Star with Cincinnati.
"When asked about baseball in Canada, the Blue Jays and specifically this event, it took me back to the times and my resentment for not making Team Canada in high school, not being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school, or not being picked for the Olympic team while in the minor leagues," he wrote.
"Clearly my reply came out of a side of jealousy for a Canadian baseball athlete being celebrated in the city of Toronto. It was an odd reply and one I am terribly ashamed of."
Paxton, who is from British Columbia, threw his no-hitter in the Seattle Mariners' 5-0 victory over the Blue Jays on May 8.
"To James Paxton, the Blue Jays, the Toronto fans, the women and men all across Canada that work so hard to promote and support Canadian baseball, I am sorry for my selfish comments and I humbly ask for your forgiveness," Votto wrote.