Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Quick Vinny Rottino Update

with 2 comments

Yesterday, the Florida Marlins started Vinny Rottino in left field in their game against the Milwaukee Brewers.  This was significant because Rottino is from Racine, WI, and had been a Brewers “farmhand,” being signed as a minor league free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003 (Rottino was the 2005 minor league player of the year for the Brewers if memory serves).  This was the first time Rottino had returned as a major leaguer to Milwaukee, and the first time he’s played in front of his own family and friends as a member of the Marlins.

While Rottino did not get a hit, he did draw two walks and showed an excellent eye at the plate.  (So far, he is one for eleven in his current stint with the Marlins, with a batting average of .091.  But he hasn’t had that many chances to play, either.)  Rottino also was very lucky not to get an error in the outfield as he overran one ball; usually a misplay like that is caused by trying too hard rather than the reverse, and is something that might be attributed to nerves as Rottino had many friends and family in the crowd.

As for me, I watched the game on television and I was hoping that Peter Jackel of the Racine Journal-Times would have something to say about Rottino.  Jackel didn’t, so all I can tell you is what I saw.

But that’s not the whole story, as anyone who’s followed along with my updates about Rottino should realize by now; Rottino’s all about heart, persistence, and a refusal to give up on his very real talents as a baseball player.  This is partly why his story is compelling, because at 31, many baseball players have “packed it in” and Rottino has refused to do so because he knew he had more to give.  And the rest of the reason why I continue to follow along with Rottino is my own belief that people should be judged by who they are and how hard they work, not by their age or by some pre-set list of qualifications.

I believe that if Rottino gets a chance to play a bit more often, he will succeed in the big leagues.   I also believe that if a major league team gives him a chance, they will be pleasantly surprised at all the things Rottino can do that will help their ballclub.

That being said, all I can do is watch Rottino as I’m able and hope for the best.  Because what Rottino’s doing is what I like to call “when perspiration meets inspiration” — he’s living his dreams because he’s worked very hard, he’s prepared himself as best he’s able, and he’s done his level best to get himself to advance to the final level in baseball, the major leagues. 

While I’m very glad the Marlins called Rottino up, he’s still a ballplayer in need of a break.  I really hope that in 2012, he will finally get the break he needs to become a full-time major league player.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

September 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Barb, I love reading your occasional words of support and appreciation regarding Vinny Rottino. I have know Vinny since he came to work with me at Siena Center, while still in high school. Over the years, I have followed his path. We have kept in touch by email and the all too infrequent visits. Twice I was able to go to Spring Training to watch him play. This past summer I was able to take in a game in DesMoines when the New Orleans team played there. I think the world of Vinny. I respect his incredible work ethic and his value based life. Like you… I have waited for him to get a break. I believe with every fiber of my being that he can play at a major league level… and play well. When that day comes, I will be ever so delighted. Kathie Solie

    Kathie Solie

    October 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    • Hi, Kathie.

      Thank you ever so much! 🙂 I’m glad you have enjoyed my words of support and appreciation for Vinny Rottino; I think it’s great he’s still trying because I truly believe he _does_ have the ability. I think also that José Bautista’s story is something that Vinny R. should look at, if he hasn’t already; Bautista was shunted from organization to organization before he finally ended up in Toronto of all places. And look at him now! 🙂

      I envy you that you’ve gotten to see him play in person! 😀 (I was hoping to go to that game against the Marlins late in the season, but I wasn’t able to get a ticket before it sold out. Due to walking with a cane and needing disabled access seating, standing room doesn’t work for me, not even to see Vinny Rottino play.) And I’m glad you’re in contact with him; I hope he knows he has support in this quarter, and it’s not just from me. My family is full of baseball fans, and we appreciate those who can play more than one position, play it well, hit in the clutch, steal a base if it’s needed, and play good, smart, fundamental baseball.

      I believe Vinny Rottino does all of those things, and I just want him to get a good, solid chance. Because as I said in my last update of the season — the “end of the year wrap-up” for Vinny Rottino — think about last year with the Brewers (the 2010 season). If Vinny R. hadn’t been traded in 2009; had he still been in the Brewers organization, don’t you think he would’ve been the one called up, _not_ Jonathan Lucroy? I mean, Lucroy was in AA ball! He had to be promoted to AAA because of injuries to others, and if Rottino had still been with the Brewers organization, they’d not have promoted Lucroy, most likely; they’d have sent Rottino there as he’d succeeded at the AAA level before. Which means after Gregg Zaun was lost for the season, they’d probably have had to call Vinny R. up for a while — and he might’ve well stayed. (Lucroy _then_ would’ve been promoted to AAA, and who knows what would’ve happened then?)

      I’m very glad the Marlins did what they said they’d do; they did call him up (after Jack McKeon had said he wasn’t going to call anyone up, I thought they were going to ignore Vinny’s excellent season in AAA; I was so frustrated that I made up a # sign on Twitter and said #MarlinsCallUpVinnyRottinoNOW!), he did get another three weeks of big-league service time and a few at-bats, and he did get to play in Miller Park, albeit not for the Brewers as I’m sure he’d always hoped to do. (He did achieve that goal earlier in life, even if not to the extent he wanted, or I wanted, or you wanted.)

      Did you hear how kind and respectful Brewers TV announcers Bill Schroeder and Brian Anderson were toward Vinny Rottino during the game against the Marlins? I was happy to hear that; I know that I want to see Vinny R. get his chance — get a fair chance, one that’s unbiased by expectations about his age being “too old” or whatnot (consider that Craig Counsell played this year with the Brewers at age 41, and he was probably their _top_ defensive player even though Counsell’s batting skills weren’t there as much as before; if you stay in shape year-round, and I know Vinny R. does from what I’ve read and heard, who cares what your chronological age is so long as you know how to play baseball?), where he gets to play for a team that wants him there because they value his skills — I believe if he gets that chance, he will prosper.

      Thank you again for reading, and enjoying, my blog.

      Barb Caffrey

      October 28, 2011 at 1:49 am


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