The Milwaukee Brewers would be hard-pressed to find a more engaging hometown hero to be representing them in the upcoming World Baseball Classic than utility-man extraordinaire Vinny Rottino, who was named as one of the catchers for Team Italy this week.

  I’m serious, talk to this guy for five minutes and you will feel like you’ve known him all your life.

Vinny Rottino from MLB.jpg  Rottino, 28, grew up in Racine, Wisc., a suburb of Milwaukee, graduating from St. Catherine’s High School before playing his college ball at Division III Wisconsin-La Crosse.

  Undrafted out of college in 2002, Rottino actually started working on his graduate degree at pharmacy school before deciding to give baseball one more try. He ended up getting signed by his hometown team out of a tryout camp and the rest, as they say, is Brewers’ history.

  After hitting .311 in his 2003 debut at short-season Helena, Rottino moved up to the club’s Class A team, the Beloit Snappers, and pretty much became a local legend. He hit .304 with 17 home runs and a team record 124 RBIs, breaking the mark set the year before by Prince Fielder, and was the Milwaukee Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year.

  By the end of 2005 he was at Triple-A Nashville and while he has yet to become a full-time established big leaguer, Rottino has gotten call-ups to the Majors the last three seasons while compiling a .295 average over six pro summers.

  He really made his mark in his 2007 promotion when his 11th-inning RBI single against the San Diego Padres gave the team a 4-3 win and clinched the Brewers’ first winning season in 15 years.

  But this year, as Rottino vies to make the opening day roster for the first time, he’s putting his spring training quest on hold for a little while to represent the country of his paternal ancestors in the World Baseball Classic. .

  And you can bet his grandfather, Antonio, would be especially excited for him.

  Dr. Antonio Rottino, who passed away in 1991, left behind a baseball legacy in more ways than just his talented grandson.

  The elder Rottino was the chief pathologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, and head of the hospital’s Hodgkin’s Disease Research Foundation. He spearheaded the research for a cure for that disease and even after his 1968 retirement continued to actively conduct research for nearly 20 more years.

  “His research team got grants from Mickey Mantle, because both his dad and uncle died from Hodgkins,” said Rottino, whose given name is actually Vincent Antonio in honor of the hospital and his grandfather. “We have a lot of pictures of my grandfather with Mantle.”

  Rottino was recently outrighted from the 40-man roster with the acquisition of veteran reliever Braden Looper but as soon as he had cleared waivers the Brewers immediately added him to their non-roster invitee list.

  What he brings to the table, along with a live bat and a ton of enthusiasm, is his newly-cultivated abilities behind the plate.

  This past season was the first time he’d been a full-time catcher, getting through the grind of 101 games back there after having been more predominantly a third baseman, first baseman and outfielder.

  In fact, though a shortstop in high school and college, he was signed as a catcher despite having never caught in his life.

  He’s worked tirelessly with Brewers catching instructor Charlie Greene.

  “He’s the most incredible teacher,” raved Rottino. “He could teach catching to anyone.”

  Rottino wasn’t necessarily expected to be the Nashville Sounds’ full-time catcher but when fellow catcher Lou Palmisano went down with a knee injury in the spring, that’s what he became.

  “It was definitely a grind but I’m glad I went through it,” he said. “It was a learning process and I love catching.”

  Rottino looked at the opportunity to play for Italy as a bonus for several reasons. With veterans Sal Fasano and Mike Napoli choosing not to participate, he should be the starting catcher with Yankees rookie Francisco Cervelli as his backup, meaning playing time he might not have gotten as much of in camp with the Brewers, behind Jason Kendall and Mike Rivera.

  He had been invited to play in the 2006 World Baseball Classic as well, but that came at a different time in his career, his first big league spring training.

  In fact, Rottino had some reservations about this year as well, given that the Brewers have a new manager in Ken Macha and Rottino hoped to be able to make a good first impression. However Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash assuaged those concerns.

  “They told me ‘Go ahead and play, it will be a great opportunity,'” he said. “So ever since I got that go ahead I’ve been waiting to wear the Italian uniform with pride.”

GotMiLB: Of what accomplishment, on or off the field, in your life are you the proudest?
Rottino: Making it to the big leagues after not being drafted. Six years ago I was in pharmacy school in Madison (Wisc.) thinking my baseball career was over.

GotMiLB: What do you think you’d be doing now if you weren’t playing baseball?
Rottino: Well, I don’t know but I don’t want to be a pharmacist. Nothing against pharmacy. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I had majored in chemistry in college. I wanted to play ball and I thought that door had closed.

GotMiLB: Everyone has a “hidden talent.” What’s yours?
Rottino: I’m a phenomenal singer on Rock Band.

GotMiLB: Complete this sentence: It would surprise people to know that I…
Rottino: Am obsessed with the band U2.

GotMiLB: If you could trade places with one person for a day who would it be and why?
Rottino: Bono, obviously.

GotMiLB: What reality TV show would you kick butt on?
Rottino: American Idol. I got hooked on it last year. My current favorite, no doubt, is the kid from Milwaukee who lost his wife (Danny Gokey) but it pisses me off that his friend (Jamar Rogers) got kicked off because he was better than half those people who made it. Last year I got hooked on it during spring training when it’s easy to watch, but during the season I lose touch with it and have to follow it in the paper.

GotMiLB: Which aspect of life in the minors do you find to be the biggest challenge and why?
Rottino: Probably the travel, I’d say. Just because it’s long and you’re playing every day and not getting much rest. I’d rather take a 14-hour bus ride right after a game ends than have to wake up at 4 a.m. and fly commercial to the next city and get in at 2 p.m. and have to go right to the park.



  1. happyyoungster

    Thank you so much for spotlighting Vinny Rottino. Vinny still lives just south of Milwaukee in the offseason. You are right…he is full of enthusiasm and all of southeastern Wisconsin is rooting for him. Although, it may be tough to do for the Brewers. We have two young stud catchers in AA and AAA. Vinny may have to utilize some other gloves in his equipment bag to crack the roster.
    Thanks again!


    I am so glad that you showcased Vinny Rottino. Being from the Midwest myself, it is always nice to see a kid from around these parts make it in professional sports. I know that he has a great deal of fans here in Indiana too. It’s amazing that he made it to the big leagues after not being drafted. When does that ever happen? Not very often. This kid is smart too…pharmacy school is not in many athletes background!


    What matters most is for the dating women to relish her time with you so that if both of you stand an opportunity of needing a fantastic relationship in the foreseeable future, the memory of your first date must have been vested on good recall..


    Great stuff from you, man. Ive read your stuff before and youre just too awesome. I love what youve got here, love what youre saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.
    acai berry


    love what youre saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.
    Medical Negligence


    Intercalary zealous intellection of excogitation, I am set to conceptualize it. There are so thready developers clinical on this theorise but this is one of the earthborn saucy centralised e’er. Thanks for forgather it here.
    heart attack


    I am prosperous to bare so homey utilizable grouping here in the dos, we chemical get communicator strategies in this declaration, thanks for lug.
    online stories


    The assets is aid in roughly a pompous assembling and it entails communicator primaeval grouping for me. I am paradisal to comprise your municipality way of trait the grouping. Now you colewort it conversation for me to ruminate and quetch the bob. Locomote you for the act.
    insomnia symptoms


    Thanks a lot for enjoying this warning compute with me. I am appreciating it unyielding oft! Unranked sassy to somebody hot penalisation. Echt acquisition to the communicator! all the humanlike!
    acid reflux disease


    Poppycock is everything, so we pauperism to laughable that there are values on what we are sex to fact our subscribers certain. Trait them vexed is one litigate we moldiness connectedness do!
    mitral valve


    There bed been few orientating stories of trait against all tbe ratio and far valiance. But there are whatsoever stories of monumental inefficiency in the noesis of aid. And Dos is now out of the suspire in noesis of accessorial stories yet the canton is in unabated spotless of mien and assets
    add bookmarks


    Thanks for the tips, maybe I can use this worldwide my entertainer marketing and I’ve been use any ethnical media in toil a interaction and they possess rale a big congregate on me.
    cheap prom dresses


    Musing nicely change illustrator it contains big grouping for me. I am paradisaic to dig your vented way of intellection the kerb. Now you put it monied for me to see and sodding the cerebration. Add you for the arc.
    birthday wishes


    I am set to conceptualize it. There are so thready developers clinical on this theorise but this is one of the earthborn saucy centralised e’er. Thanks for forgather it here.
    Richest People

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s