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Joey Votto's tense conversation leads to benches-clearing incident against Brewers

A number of benches-clearing moments in baseball occur due to talking, but we’ve never seen it happen like this. During Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto got the benches to clear after a lengthy back-and-forth that started with him speaking to the umpire.

How did Joey Votto cause the benches to empty with just a few words?

With Votto at the plate in the third inning, Brewers pitcher Junior Guerra threw a 3-1 pitch low and away. Votto believed it was a ball and started walking to first, but home plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called it a strike.

Votto turned and exchanged some words with Ortiz and then things got weird. After the initial conversation, Votto stepped out of the batter’s box, adjusted his gloves and then engaged Ortiz again. He then stepped out of the box two or three more times just to adjust different parts of his body.

The fourth of fifth time Votto did it, he appeared to say something to Ortiz again. That’s when Brewers catcher Eric Kratz decided to step in. Kratz stood up and started talking to Votto.

Apparently, Votto took offense to that and the two walked up to each other and continued to talk while inches away. That brought Guerra jogging from the mound to the plate, and the rest of the Brewers and Reds out of the dugout.

Did Joey Votto and Erik Kratz cause a brawl?

Nope. It was more of a large, tense conversation. It was as if 50 baseball players were having an animated chat at home plate. It didn’t look like any players were shoved or punches were thrown.

It didn’t even look like many players were angry. Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar not only took it as a moment to hang out with Reds infielder Alex Blandino, but then also played peacekeeper as the Reds bullpen reached the fracas. He stuck his arm out as if he were an offensive lineman trying to protect his quarterback. It wasn’t done aggressively, either. He was just trying to prevent things from escalating.

Joey Votto has not been happy with umpires lately

Votto hasn’t had a great week with umpires. He was ejected from Wednesday’s game after arguing balls and strikes with umpire Carlo Torres. He was not ejected from Thursday’s contest, but that was likely the result of umpire Roberto Ortiz being patient. If Votto had done the same thing with Joe West behind the plate, he’d be watching the rest of the game from the clubhouse.

Joey Votto and Erik Kratz worked it out

After Kratz walked later in the game, he and Votto had a “civil” conversation at first, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.


Votto agreed with that assessment after the game. He downplayed the exchange when speaking with reporters.


Kratz also downplayed the incident, though he went another direction with it.


Kratz would have the last laugh. He wound up scoring on a go-ahead home run by Eric Thames. The Brewers went on the win the contest 6-4.

Joey Votto and Erik Kratz exchanged words Thursday. (Getty Images)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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