Votto has fun with Phillies fans

Reds' 1B pretends to throw ball into stands, flips to Barnhart instead

Votto has fun with Phillies fans

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia sports fans are known as some of the toughest around. Therefore it looked like Reds first baseman Joey Votto was poking a hornet's nest as he toyed with some fans during Cincinnati's 9-4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Votto fielded a foul ball to the right side by Cesar Hernandez. He turned toward the crowd near the first-base dugout and faked a toss of the ball, before throwing it to catcher Tucker Barnhart and drew boos. After he returned to his position, Votto showed a sly smile and pumped his fist.

"I was just having fun with them," Votto said. "They give you a hard time during the game. That's my way of giving them a hard time back. Really, it's just me playing around. I was telling [Freddy] Galvis just how much fun I have coming here because they're such an energized bunch and they get on you if you're not doing your job. They get on you if you're on the other team, if you give them a hard time. It's a really fun group here."

Later in the game after a third out, Votto made a similar gesture and deked another toss of a ball to a waiting fan. They exchanged some words, but Votto insisted there was no malice intended.

"I would like to think he's having a good time. It's nothing personal," Votto said.

Fans around Citizens Bank Park weren't all in on the joke. During his final at-bat in the eighth, fans at Citizens Bank Park booed Votto lustily and then cheered when he struck out for the third time during his 0-for-5 day.

"They're awesome here," Votto said. "They're just such a treat to play in front of. They give you immediate feedback. A high percentage of the guys and ladies and kids on the first-base side were smiling and laughing. Fair game. I happened to pop in during the game and on TV the theme was I didn't give a ball to a kid, which is definitely not the case. I made a point to not give a ball to an adult that was giving me a hard time. So be it."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.