Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Vinny Rottino hits 1st HR in Majors, NY Mets win, 9-0

with 3 comments

The old saying is, “You never forget your first” anything.  And in this case, after all the time, energy, and “sweat equity” Vinny Rottino’s put into making the major leagues — his persistence — I’m certain that Rottino will never forget May 26, 2012.

Why?  Because this was the day that Rottino hit his first-ever major league home run as a member of the New York Mets.  Rottino’s homer was part of a four-run first inning that helped stoke Mets starter Johann Santana to a lead he would never relinquish.  Ultimately, the Mets won, 9-0, over the Padres; Rottino went 2 for 3 with a HR, two runs scored, a walk, and a strikeout.

Despite Santana’s nine-inning four-hit shutout, the day belonged to Rottino.  This is because he’s a 32-year-old rookie who’s played parts of six major league seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Florida Marlins, and, of course, the Mets.  Trying so hard for so long — playing ten seasons of professional baseball in the minor leagues — is noteworthy, as I’ve said many times. 

Finally, others are noticing Rottino’s persistence and talent, too.  As Ethan Asofsky of MLB.com put it:

Vinny Rottino got a lesson in supply and demand after the Mets’ 9-0 win over the Padres on Saturday.

After hitting his first Major League home run, having spent 10 seasons in the Minor Leagues, the Mets outfielder had to bargain with the fan that caught the ball to get it back. The fan received a signed bat and ball from Rottino in exchange for the most valuable commodity a 32-year-old rookie can have — his first home run ball.

You might be wondering what Rottino had to give the Mets’ fan in return; from Asofsky’s above-mentioned story, here’s what happened next:

“I was running out of bats, so I actually gave him a bat that I haven’t used in a while,” Rottino said. “It turns out it was a Florida Marlins bat. That’s what it said on it. I realized that after the fact.”

Rottino’s home run came on a 2-1 fastball, capping a four-run first inning that allowed Mets starter Johan Santana — who tossed a four-hit shutout — to pitch with the lead for the rest of the game. Rottino said he didn’t feel the contact when the ball met his bat on the home run. He was numb.

“I was just happy to help the team and contribute to the win,” Rottino said. “But I was floating around the bases a little bit. I had a little bit of goose bumps running around the bases. It was a cool feeling.”

Asofsky then points out this is the first time Rottino’s had a chance to play meaningful baseball — in May, no less.  And then, of course, Asofsky points out how long Rottino’s been trying to make it in the big leagues (as I have done, blog after blog), and then ended his article this way:

Rottino said he never stopped believing he’d have the opportunity to round the bases after his first home run in the Major Leagues. Mets manager Terry Collins said Rottino’s work ethic is a result of how much he loves the game.

“I talk about it all the time with my teammates down in Triple-A, you just have to keep grinding and believing,” Rottino said. “You just never know what can happen. I’ll continue to do so.”

And lest you think Ethan Asofsky was the only one to figure out this was a really big deal, Justin Tasch and Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News also wrote an article that discussed Rottino’s HR.  Here’s what they had to say:

Vinny Rottino, the Mets’ 32-year-old utility man, smashed his first major league homer to cap a four-run first inning Saturday, helping the Mets topple to Padres, 9-0.Rottino, who made his debut in the minors in 2003, has played in 32 games in the majors his (sic) spanning six years. His daydreams of trotting around the bases finally became a reality when he connected on a 2-1 pitch from lefty Clayton Richard.

(Quoted verbatim from May 26, 2012, NY Daily News article; sic was added by Barb Caffrey due to the unnecessary word that somehow escaped the Daily News‘ copyeditors.)

Notice the pitch count, which was described in both articles.  Rottino’s batting eye must have been sharp, as he’d taken two balls and a strike from Padres pitcher Clayton Richard.  This meant he was on a “hitter’s count.”  He then got a favorable pitch to hit (a fast ball), and drove it out of the ballpark in deep left-center field according to the box score.

What a great day for Vinny Rottino!

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm

3 Responses

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  1. My husband made that amazing catch. The bat does not say Florida Marlins anywhere on it. It says: “Handcrafted for Vinny Rottino”

    Anna Maria Ozelski

    May 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    • Well, that’s good, Anna. Vinny Rottino probably didn’t remember what the bat said due to how excited he was over his first home run; even so, I’m glad that your husband got that bat.

      Barb Caffrey

      May 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

  2. … [Trackback]…

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    June 5, 2012 at 2:34 am


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