Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for April 19th, 2011

Update: Vinny Rottino

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Folks, I am truly pleased to give this update on Vinny Rottino — while he’s still not hitting, it appears that last year, the reason he was sent to AA ball (after succeeding several times at the AAA level) was at his own request.

Peter Jackel at the Racine Journal-Times broke this story, and here’s some relevant quotes from his story dated April 19, 2011, “Rottino Still Chasing A Big Dream,” available at :

For a sense of just how serious Rottino is, consider this story:

Just after being signed by the Marlins prior to the 2010 season, Rottino was sent to Class AAA New Orleans and told younger prospects would receive the preference in playing time.

After a few games, Rottino approached the Marlins’ brass and asked to be sent down to Class AA Jacksonville, where he would be able to play every day. That meant willingly forfeiting half the $12,000 monthly salary he would have received by playing at Class AAA to have a greater chance to showcase his skills. In other words, Rottino conceded about $36,000 in salary last year.

“It was the right decision,” Rottino said. “When I came to spring training this year, one of the guys in the front office pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to you last year, but I just wanted to let you know I’ve never seen that before – a guy wanting to take half the pay to play in Double A. I just wanted you to know how impressed I am.’ “

Note the reason for being impressed likely was not just the fact that Rottino has persisted (he’s now 31, a full adult, who knows exactly what he wants and is doing his best to get it), but that Rottino had an outstanding year last year in Jacksonville, batting .307 with 22 steals (and only 2 “caught stealing,” an excellent percentage), 69 RBI, 8 HR and a stellar .385 on-base percentage (OBP). 

Rottino did exactly the right thing for himself; he went to AA ball, played every position (he’s an IF-OF-C), hit well, stole many bases, took walks, and proved he’s still “got it.”  And with his excellent season, he was named the best utility player in the Southern League at the end of the 2010 season — the first major award Rottino had won in over two and a half years for his play.

Rottino, as I’ve said before, is an outstanding defensive outfielder and a very good defensive infielder; he’s fast, positions himself well, has a good arm and does everything right — he has outstanding “baseball fundamentals,” in short, from every statistic I’ve ever seen (and from the very few times I’ve actually managed to see Rottino play).  He can pinch hit, though he’s better if he plays every day, and is a contact hitter rather than someone who hits for power — with his speed, his ideal position in a lineup would probably be either second or seventh.

At any rate, I know I was frustrated when Rottino started on a tear at AAA ball last year, hitting two triples in one game for New Orleans, then was sent down.  But now that I know that Rottino requested it in order to get more playing time, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I agree that Rottino made exactly the right decision for himself.

But for the rest of us, there’s a lesson to be learned here.  Persistence is important.  Look how hard Vinny Rottino has tried, knowing his full worth — he deserves a chance to play major league ball.  And I believe he will get that chance if he just keeps trying; it doesn’t matter about his age, it only matters about his ability and his determination and his drive.  Rottino has a winning attitude and I applaud him for refusing to give up on himself or his talents.

Here’s hoping that Rottino will find his hitting stroke and have a great season in AAA ball.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Update: Wisconsin state Senator (R) recalls

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So far in Wisconsin, we have four Republican Senators who will, apparently, face recall elections.  These Senators all have had recall petitions filed in Madison with the Government Accountability Board (GAB).  The newest “victims” are Luther Olsen of Ripon and Sheila Harsdorf of Hudson/River Falls, joining earlier Senators Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse) and Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac).    Note this link isn’t perfect but it should take you to the story about Olson:

24,000 signatures were turned in to recall Luther Olsen, which is quite a bit more than the 14,733 signatures needed.  This article also points out that the previous Republican state Senators being recalled, Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper, are challenging the signatures and procedures.

As for Sheila Harsdorf, the petitions to recall her were filed today also.

This story, from the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press, states that the Harsdorf recall committee turned in over 23,000 signatures when they needed only 15,744.  This follows suit with the other recalls to date; basically, every Republican state Senator where the petitions have already been turned in has had at least 5,000 additional signatures to guard against any signatures being stricken due to ineligibility.

Here’s a really good article from the Hudson Star-Observer, available at  A relevant quote from this article:

(New Richland High School teacher Rich) Herron was one of four speakers at Monday evening’s rally.

He began by relating how he got involved in the petition drive.

Four months earlier, he said, he had been telling a co-worker how truly happy we was with his career and the work he was doing with at-risk students.

Then Gov. Scott Walker unveiled the budget repair bill that would strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights and reduce spending on education and programs to assist the disadvantaged, Herron said.

“And I had the naïve hope that sanity and cooler heads were going to prevail,” he said. “…I kept waiting. Then I watched hundreds of thousands of people descend on Madison, my family among them, thinking they would have to listen to us. We pleaded and we begged, and yeah, sometimes we yelled. But somewhere in there I realized they never intended to listen to us. They never intended to concede anything.”

This is why people like Herron got involved.

Going on:

Herron described picking up petition sheets at a Hudson coffee shop in early March. He said that after going door-to-door in Hudson for two hours and collecting 10 signatures, he knew he needed a better plan.

“So my family and I, you know, the well-funded union machine that we are – outside agitators from New Richmond – spent $83 on some signs and a canopy,” Herron related.

The crowd laughed at the reference to Sen. Harsdorf’s claims that outside union officials are behind the effort to oust her.

Herron said he and other volunteers “sat out in the wind and snow in New Richmond,” and in a few days had 500 signatures. Eventually, 1,600 New Richmond-area residents signed the petition, he said.

Herron said the people he remembers best are the Republicans who signed.

One off-duty police officer said he had driven past him for four days, and each time wrestled over whether he should sign.

“The reason I am, is because wrong is wrong,” the officer reportedly told Herron.

And that, exactly, is why so many people of all parties in Wisconsin are astonished and disgusted at Republican Governor Scott Walker and his eighteen Republican state Senators.

This is a state-wide movement that’s not about Democrats, not about Republicans, not about Independents — it’s about simple fairness.  Period.

We didn’t get it, and we deserve it.  Which is why all of these Republican Senators eligible for recall right now will be recalled.

Once again, I say that persistence is absolutely important.  Look at these folks who put together the recalls.  They started on March 3, 2011, were told they had no chance to get enough signatures (1/4 of the total of the voters in the last election was what was needed, which is a high number) and shouldn’t even bother because “recalls rarely work.”  Yet now, four Republican state Senators will face recall elections until/unless signatures are stricken or the entire process is invalidated (that latter tactic is what Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, is trying.  I doubt he will succeed, but if he does, the Recall Kapanke folks believe they can gather enough signatures again very easily), and it’s all due to their vote on Governor Scott Walker’s “budget-repair bill,” which caused massive protests throughout the state (not just in Madison; that was just where it was the most widely-reported). 

Eighteen Republican Senators voted “yes” on that bill, with all fourteen Democratic Senators still out of the state in Illinois protesting at that time who would’ve voted no.  One Republican Senator, Dale Schultz of Richland Center, had the courage to vote “no.”  Schultz now is the only Republican Senator who is likely to hold his seat without facing a recall election.

So now, we in Wisconsin can be pleased — four Senators, at the same time, will face recall elections, the first time in American history it’s ever happened.  But the Republicans should not believe this will be the end, because I can assure you, it won’t be.

First, we have four more Republican state Senators — Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay), Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) — who are eligible for recall right now.  Signatures are still being gathered there and I am confident that several more of these Republicans will be recalled due to their vote on the controversial “budget-repair” bill.

Next, while the other ten Republican state Senators who voted for that bill are ineligible for recall now, that does not mean they will not be recalled later

I, for one, plan to help recall Van Wanggaard, my sitting Republican Senator who, as I’ve said before, is a retired policeman and a former member of the policeman’s union, yet voted against collective bargaining when he cast a vote for that “budget-repair bill.”  I find that highly hypocritical at best, shameful at worst, and believe that Wanggaard must go.

And I’ve heard from other friends in other parts of the state, who will recall their Republican Senator at first opportunity (this November, we can start to gather signatures) — this isn’t over.  (Oh, no.  This definitely isn’t over.)  And it won’t be until Governor Scott Walker, himself, is recalled.