(WCPO) -- Plenty of Cincinnati Reds fans were frustrated by Joey Votto’s first-inning ejection against the San Diego Padres on Saturday, but 6-year-old Abigail was heartbroken.
Her mother, Greenville, Ohio, native Kristin Courtney, wrote on Twitter it was Abigail’s first-ever Major League Baseball game. Their family had traveled from Los Angeles to San Diego's Petco Park to see the Reds play, and Abigail arrived in a Joey Votto T-shirt.
And then the ejection. Votto had gotten into an argument with two umpires, leading the officials to boot him and Reds manager David Bell from the game.
Words can’t do much justice to the picture that Courtney posted from Petco Park:
— Kristin (@SuperBarry11) June 19, 2021
Why does the first baseman mean so much to Abigail?
Simple reasons, her mother said. They have a dog named Joey Votto, and Abigail has discovered first base is her favorite position to play in tee-ball.
“She’s been watching and learning from Joey Votto (the person, not the dog), so that has really increased her interest in the game of baseball,” Courtney wrote in a message to WCPO, ABC 10News' Scripps sister station.
And the stormy start to Saturday’s game didn’t dull her enthusiasm in the end. Votto -- the person, not the dog -- sent his personal apology to Abigail on a signed baseball.
I have an update on the sad Abigail situation! It took a couple of innings, but she eventually cheered up with some popcorn! And Joey Votto is SO KIND- he signed this amazing ball for her!! Thank you so much Mr. Votto & the wonderful @Reds ❤️⚾️ pic.twitter.com/aIsHx3r42N
— Kristin (@SuperBarry11) June 20, 2021
“Someone called me down to the dugout to give me the signed ball (we are in the fourth row behind the Reds dugout),” Courtney wrote. “I’m not sure who it was, but we are so grateful to Mr. Votto and the Reds!!!”
The game didn’t have a happy ending for the Reds, who lost to the Padres 7-5, but it had a happy ending for one of their smallest fans. That’s a different kind of home run.
But the story doesn't quite end there.
The following day, Courtney tweeted that Votto and the Reds left the family tickets for the Sunday series finale.
Today was AMAZING!!! ❤️⚾️ Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to Joey Votto & the @Reds for the wonderful tickets to today’s game & for taking the time to meet with Abigail. She is absolutely thrilled & couldn’t have had a better weekend! Thank you for making it so special! pic.twitter.com/n0JL8YAUIJ
— Kristin (@SuperBarry11) June 21, 2021