Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for August 8th, 2012

Update on Oak Creek Shooting; Other Updates

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This is yet another day where I don’t really have time to write a full blog post, but do have a number of things to say.  So let’s get to it.

First, the latest update regarding the Oak Creek, WI, shooting that left six innocents dead and three innocents wounded is as follows: the Federal Bureau of Investigation has revealed that the gunman, Wade Michael Page, actually took his own life after being shot by the police.  Funeral arrangements are being made for the six dead; of the three who were severely wounded, two are still in critical condition, while the third, a local policeman, is recovering with amazing speed.

Second, the Racine Concert Band will have another concert this Sunday at the Racine Zoo.  (Showtime is 7 p.m.)  I’m to play alto saxophone this week, after playing clarinet last week . . . I view myself as the Vinny Rottino of the Racine Concert Band (with tongue planted firmly in cheek).

Speaking of Rottino, here’s a nice write-up about him that I somehow missed last week from the Let’s Go Tribe blog.  This blog discusses Rottino’s career and how he’s always hit, but how his defense isn’t quite major-league ready except at first base and left field — but because Rottino’s not a prototypical power hitter, and those positions usually are played by people who are, that’s why Rottino rarely gets a chance to bat in the major leagues.

I’ve not seen Rottino play third base or right field, but I know that Rottino has a good arm and is an extremely smart player.  He’s made himself into a decent catcher despite learning to play the position late (he took it up when he was 24 or 25); he rarely makes baserunning mistakes or fielding miscues.  And as I’ve said many times, I believe Rottino will hit if he’s given a chance at the major league level, especially considering the fact that he’s hit everywhere else.

Also regarding Rottino, here’s a link to an article from November of 2006 from the Baseball Prospectus, written by Kevin Goldstein that I somehow missed previously.  Goldstein says bluntly:

If you aren’t rooting for Vinny Rottino, there’s something very, very wrong with you. Undrafted out of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, the Brewers signed Rottino in 2003 as a local product who could fill some organizational holes, yet all he’s done is hit at every level, including a .314/.379/.440 mark at Triple-A Nashville this year, good enough to earn him his major-league debut.

Note Goldstein’s first line: “If you aren’t rooting for Vinny Rottino, there’s something very, very wrong with you.”  (I couldn’t have said it better myself.)

Mind, Goldstein also pointed out (later in the blurb) that Rottino’s glove is not major-league ready (or that it wasn’t in ’06, at any rate), particularly at the catching position.  But it’s been six years, and there has been massive improvement in that area; in addition, Rottino’s overall defense has improved, something that few other baseball players can say.

I keep wondering if Vinny Rottino has read Malcolm Gladwell’s book OUTLIERS.  This is relevant because  Toronto Blue Jays OF José Bautista, adjudged a late bloomer by many, found Gladwell’s book extremely helpful. 

I reviewed OUTLIERS over at Shiny Book Review a while back.  What I appreciated most about this book was how Gladwell pointed out that the best way to position yourself for victory in anything is to persist.  Providing you have the talent, the skills and the smarts to begin with, persistence is the only thing that will set you apart from the crowd, regardless of your chosen field.  Add to that the fact is that sometimes people give up on themselves too early due to forces beyond their control, and it’s obvious what a gifted player needs to do if he or she hasn’t yet made it: just keep trying.

Rottino has shown the value of persistence in his ten-year-long minor league career.  He’s improved his skills throughout, and has continued to hit at every level.  And by doing this — working on his craft, and refusing to give up — Rottino has put himself in a position to win.  Which is all he, or anyone else, can do.

I have a lot of sympathy for Rottino, because my journey with regards to publishing has been slow.  Yet all I can do is show that I do have the talent and just keep trying; this means I have to keep writing and editing, keep networking with other writers and editors, etc.  And of course continue to review books, as half the time this is how I end up getting to know a new and interesting writer.

Rest assured that I will do, in my fashion, what Rottino has done in his — keep getting better, and keep putting myself in a position to win.

My beloved husband Michael would expect no less.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm