1 of 5 | Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto said he relates to Field of Dreams due to the relationship he had with his late father, Joseph. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto shared a heartwarming story about the loss of his late father and how he relates to movie character Ray Kinsella ahead of his team's appearance in Thursday's MLB Field of Dreams Game.
Votto's Reds will face the Chicago Cubs at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday at MLB Field of Dreams Stadium in Dyersville, Iowa. The game will air on Fox.
"I was raised on this movie," Votto tweeted Wednesday in the first tweet of a thread. "My family had a collection of VHS tapes and one of them was Field of Dreams. I would watch it often."
Votto said he watched Field of Dreams again Wednesday night. Actor Kevin Costner, who portrays Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella, hears a mysterious voice from his cornfield at the start of the 1989 film. That voice, which utters "If you build it, they will come," leads him to construct a baseball diamond on the property.
Ghosts of all-time great players, including "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, later emerge from the cornfields to compete on his baseball diamond. Kinsella also sees the ghost of his deceased father, a fellow baseball fan, and the two repair their broken relationship.
"From 8 or 9 years old, my father and I would play catch together," Votto tweeted. "In retrospect, to me, it was the most important thing we did together. It strengthened our bond. In Field of Dreams, the movie ends with the main character, Ray, and the ghost of his father having 'a catch.'"
The Reds first baseman lost his father, Joseph, in 2008. He was 52 and died of undisclosed causes.
"My father passed away 14+ years ago," Votto tweeted. "So it is impossible for me not to feel an emotional connection to the moment where Ray asks his father for a catch. One more moment together.
"Getting the opportunity to play a game at the mythical field that sowed the seeds of hope for a Major League Baseball career is a significant moment for me. Couple that with the father/son connection, and this game is an exceptional moment in my life."
Votto, 38, went on bereavement leave and said he battled depression and panic attacks after his father's unexpected death.
"He was a very important person," Votto told the Toronto Star in 2009. "He would watch every single game. He was the first one to teach me how to play baseball.
"I played catch with him on a daily basis when we were growing up. He was a big fan. He was just in love with what I did. He was a great father to me."
Votto has spent his entire 16-year career with the Reds. The six-time All-Star and 2010 National League MVP made his MLB debut in 2007.