Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is embracing another game amid a season-ending injury, and it’s all happening right in his hometown.
Votto, who was born and raised in Toronto, is a six-time MLB All-Star, and two-time Lou Marsh Trophy (now The Northern Star Award) winner as Canada’s athlete of the year.
The Reds selected Votto out of high school in the second round with the 44th overall selection of the 2002 MLB draft.
Votto’s interest for chess apparently began during lockdowns, and recently he’s been frequenting Toronto’s Annex Chess Club, located at 918 Bathurst Street.
The place is known as a local hub for chess enthusiasts, allowing newcomers to learn the complicated game and regulars to practice their craft.
Earlier this month, Votto posted an Instagram photo at the club, announcing his very first victory in the complex game.
“I think the soup I had for lunch helped carry me to my first chess win,” Votto wrote, crediting a bowl of barley soup.
Other celebrities such as Woody Harrelson, Hikaru Nakamura, Jennifer Shahade, and Nigel Short have all been known to visit the club.
Club manager George Supol told the Star that the space is a “cultural meeting place” that sees the likes of young kids, immigrants, retirees, and celebrities.
Earlier this month, Votto posted a picture to his Instagram stories showing him taking the GO Train to the chess club.
Torontonian Joey Votto has made more than $200 Million playing baseball and is took the GO train and the Subway to go play chess downtown tonight. Ideal Toronto Man. https://t.co/NXDQd42Olq pic.twitter.com/BEgRrjnMNp
— Asher Mercer (@urban_asher) January 17, 2023
Another clip shows him taking the TTC, all while dancing along to another Canadian legend’s music (Justin Bieber’s 2015 bop “Sorry”).
In a separate Instagram post, Votto thanked the club for welcoming him writing, “finding a group that allows me to be social and do something challenging/fun has been a gift to me.”
While it’s unclear if Votto will manage to recover in time for opening day, we’ll continue to cheer him on, no matter what game he’s playing.