MIAMI — Joey Votto is buying teammate and fellow All-Star Zack Cozart a donkey, and soon.
At All-Star media day on Monday, the Reds players shed more light on the pending donkey purchase, the culmination of a promise Votto made to Cozart in spring training before the 2016 season.
“It wasn’t a joke,” Cozart said. “Like a mile from our spring training facility (in Goodyear, Ariz.), there’s a donkey farm. So I take my son up there and we just feed the donkeys after I play. And Joey was just asking, like, ‘What’d you do yesterday?’ And I said, ‘I took Cooper, my son, and we fed the donkeys.’
“He said, ‘oh, you like donkeys?’ I said, ‘yeah, I like all animals, really. Yeah, I like donkeys.’ So I was having a pretty good year last year, running up to the All-Star Game, and he just ran with it. This is just Joey being Joey. He said, ‘If you make the All-Star team, I’m going to buy you a donkey.’ And I was like, ‘alright, whatever.’ And it didn’t happen last year, so that was just kind of an afterthought.”
Cozart is enjoying a career year in 2017, and earned a starting spot in the All-Star lineup after a lively and very donkey-oriented campaign spearheaded by Votto. So now he’s getting a donkey.
“There will be a donkey in Cincinnati, I’m sure, when I get back,” he said. “I’ve had people — I’m not on social media — but they’re all like, ‘We can’t wait to see your donkey!’ That’s the topic of conversation now, mostly. It’s happening.”
Votto said he has not finalized his decision on what donkey to give Cozart, but said he estimated that the donkey will cost him in the $100-$400 range.
“You’d think prized thoroughbreds would cost more than that,” Votto said. His donkey decision, he explained, will come down to finding the right donkey to handle the pressure of performing in the spotlight.
Asked what he was looking for in a donkey, Votto said, “the ability to handle a big crowd, because at some point I have to deliver the donkey on the field in front of a large crowd. So I’m hoping one of us don’t get kicked, or thrown up on, something like that, or spit on. Do donkeys spit?”
Cozart, who makes his offseason home in Nashville, said he does not currently have enough land to keep a donkey and will most likely keep it at his mother’s house outside the city. Cozart’s son, Cooper, is now two years old and loves animals.
“Joey told me it’s going to be a baby donkey, and it’s going to be a miniature one,” Cozart said. “We don’t need the big boys. I don’t know, maybe I’ll put it in my house. If it’s a miniature one, maybe I’ll just build a room for it, put it on concrete, and we’ll just wash it out everyday. Who knows?”