Posts Tagged ‘Vinny Rottino’

Requiem for a Vinny: An Epilogue to Greatness

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Birth of Vinny

Last week’s acquisition of Claudio Vargas was one met with a collective mouth fart from the Brewers faithful. That trade alone signaled the conclusion of Milwaukee’s pursuit of a top of the rotation pitcher and, to some, the front office’s surrender of the 2009 season. But to one fan, Friday’s Vargas for Vinny Rottino trade signified something entirely different – the end of an era.

I’ve made no secret of my, at times strange, but entirely heterosexual adoration of the Racine native on this site. Sure, I knew a 29-year-old career .208 hitter who proved himself equally ineffective at eight positions was no hero, but he was someone to pull for. For residents of a state that considers actions like breathing deeply and standing for short periods of time to be sports, the hometown kid turned 2004 Brewers minor leaguer of the year was a figure to look up to, a man to unfairly pressure our unborn sons into one day becoming, a less talented Eric Hinske.

I’d been heavily drinking the tart and unforgiving ambrosia of Rottino backing since 2006. For me, it’s been an interesting experience harboring an unhealthy interest in the career of a marginal semi-pro athlete, one wrought in its ups like his first Major League hit and the downs like his demotion to Huntsville earlier this season. But more than anything, the steady middle of lingering in Nashville, waiting tirelessly for the next promised opportunity to be delivered, and ultimately being passed over once again.

In hearing of the news of his trade, I launched into the seven stages of grief. I can only now bring myself to reveal my thoughts on that fateful day.

Stage 1: Shock and Denial
Rottino!?! No… no, that couldn’t be right. I’m sure Anthony Witrado had something to do with this report. Yeah, that’s it. Witrado.

Stage 2: Pain and Guilt
Oh Christ, the ticker is right. This hurts so much! Not only do I have to deal with the new fact Claudio Vargas is one of Milwaukee’s better pitchers now, that choad coming to town means Vinny will never be a full-time Brewers player. I should have cherished his time here. I was too busy paying off crippling student loan debt and having regular social interaction to purchase a DVR and subsequently save each of his 24 sporadic at bats… and now he’s gone. 

Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining
Seriously, Doug? You finna play me like that?!? Oh never mind, I forgot Vargas was totally awesome the last time he was a Brewer. Wasn’t Johnny Estrada part of your last trade involving Vargas coming to MKE? He was cool too. Hustled, didn’t look legally dead behind the plate… great move. Doug Davis and Dana Eveland were so worth that prize package.

Why me? Is it not enough that I bear a slight resemblance to a less hot “Booger” from Revenge of the Nerds and have larger than average lips? Haven’t I been through enough? If Rottino comes back to Milwaukee, I promise I’ll never attempt to organize a stupid photo contest only two people participate in. I SWEAR IT!

Stage 4: “Depression”, Reflection, Loneliness
People don’t seem to care about this as much as I do. Some people are even making jokes about the trade. I agree, the Vargas part is really funny… but I still miss Vinny. Man, I really used to like the guy. Shit, I even personalized a Rottino shirt jersey once. Sure, it was using a gift certificate, I didn’t want anything else and I mostly did it to be funny, but there was something about that shirt that just felt right; perhaps it was the 10% Rayon blend, but maybe it was the name on the back - though it probably was the 10% Rayon blend.

Stage 5: The Upward Turn
Wait a second, Vinny was languishing in double-A and posting a sub-.250 AVG there before the trade. Maybe he’s not the answer. Actually, I won’t ponder this right now. I just remembered Internet porn, binge drinking and Thai food still exist. No time to cry.

Stage 6: Reconstruction and Working Through
Maybe I don’t need to maintain a semi-serious admiration for a fledgling aged prospect. He had some good moments in the Brewers system, the fact he worked his way up from unsigned free agent to three-time September call-up proves that. Maybe I could start looking for another longshot player to base my pathetic existence around. Maybe I’ll cut up a Rottino card and use it to make soap. Out of respect.

Better times

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope
I’m now at peace. Vinny wasn’t in the Brewers’ long-term plans (apart from previous six-year dickaround in the minors). The fact he was traded one for one to nab a player who will serve Milwaukee on the big league level is a pretty nice parting shot - even if that  player kind of sucks turds. Though technically a Dodger, Vinny Rottino will always remain a Brewer - especially when he accepts a minor league coaching job in the Brewers system within the next two seasons. I hope that happens. 

Goodbye Vinny and best of luck, until you return.

Who’s the Hack Now, Tyler?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

As a blogger, you’ll quickly find that to be even mildly interesting you have to have opinions and sometimes those opinions will make you look stupid. For example, I predicted David Ortiz would be the AL MVP last year… Well, along those same lines of epically horrible takes, I think it’s a good time to point out Tyler’s post on Casey McGehee from this spring.

To be fair, Tyler said he didn’t really have any concrete reasons to dream of a Brewers roster devoid of McGehee. The rookie just rubbed him the wrong way, wasn’t one of his irrationally adored scrubs (see: Nelson, Brad and Rottino, Vinny) and had an annoying name. No one (including myself) jumped to McGehee’s defense, save a couple overzealous fans from Casey’s hometown. But I think it’s time to give the former waiver wire addition some much-deserved props.

The Brewers have not been playing great baseball lately (not even in that three-game sweep of the Tribe), but McGehee has been shining.

In close to 100 plate appearances this season, McGehee is hitting .349 with a .414 OBP and .500 slugging (.914 OPS). Yeah, he’s not THAT good, but this is the same guy Tyler was literally begging to not make the team as Spring Training got underway. The 26 year old is proving to be more than adequate offensively, including putting up some remarkably consistent splits (.340 against righties, .345 against lefties).

Aside from his contributions at the plate, McGehee has been a solidifying defensive addition as well. The former Cub, who played exactly seven games at second base in the minors and zero in the majors before this season, has played 15 games at second this year and has more than held his own while becoming a regular in the everyday line-up. He has also played a handful of games at third base, a couple at designated hitter and even logged an inning in right field.

Does McGehee’s production make up for the loss of Rickie Weeks for the year? It’s hard to say, but unlikely. Rickie was on pace for a hell of a year. But McGehee has certainly helped ease the pain. The guy has been an outstanding addition to the team and has more than earned my respect (maybe even Tyler’s?). In fact, he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite guys on the team to root for.

In the News (4/1)

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Prince Hugs Eckstein

Tuesday’s Game: Brewers 5, Padres 6
Record: 18-10-3

Tuesday’s Game

- Braden Looper still looked a bit rusty at times leaving many pitches in the center of the plate, but overall did alright for his second outing of the year. In 4 innings he gave up 4 runs, 2 earned but also gave up 2 home runs.

- Ryan Braun had a fly ball hit him on his right hand and he left the game in the second inning. X Rays came up negative and he has a right thumb contusion. Still sounds painful.

-Tony Gwynn Jr. looked lost in center…

- Hart was hitting second and Hardy was hitting fifth…it’s a lineup Macha is considering.

- The young Brewers got a run off and a runner on third off of Heath Bell, but he got out of the jam.

Brewers News

- Mike Lamb was designated for assignment Tuesday and the next move is up to him…

- Vinny Rottino has been sent down to AA Huntsville to be a Third Baseman. Tyler must have had a rough night…

- Bill Hall wants another trip to the postseason and a 30 HR season. So do we, Billy, so do we….

- Two Fisted Slopper takes a slight note from Jack and agrees that Rickie is alright and is “too big to fail”. So is Prince. Who isn’t too big to fail? Casey McGehee and Craig Counsell are my guesses.

- Sportsbubbler uses numbers to answer the question “If the Brewers are losing out on 60 runs by losing CC and Sheeter, how do they get those runs back?“

- Prince for MVP? We were chanting it in 2007, so I suppose it’s possible.

- More info on Tyler’s favorite Brewer now that Lamb might be on the outs…Casey McGehee

- Brew Crew Ball is having an over/under contest (with prize TBD). I might have to give it a whirl.

- Al from Ramblings says that those who want to keep Hardy over Escobar are like the people who wanted to keep Overbay over Fielder: Shortsighted.

- If you keep reading down, you’ll find that the Brewers are keeping tabs on the Jason Hammel/Jeff Niemann battle. Both are young arms with major league experience…worth a peek.

- SI picked the Brewers to finish 2nd in the Central, ESPN Mag predicted them to finish worse…

- More NL Central Preview from Luke Kohler and Vigilante Sports. And Wheelhouse Radio (Brewers in 5th Place).

Minor Leagues

- The T-Rats have a Fan Fest next Tuesday, April 7th and will scrimmage members of the UW-O Baseball team. Soda, pizza, hot dogs and popcorn will be free.

NL Central

- David Chalk at Bugs & Cranks is still doing the “Your team ain’t S**t compared to the Rays” and it’s the Cubs turn. Tyler again gets a couple words in and it’s a fun read.

- The Astros believe their pitching will be solid.  In related B.S., the Rangers aren’t interested in Ben Sheets, the Cards aren’t worried about their closer or second base situations and Carlos Lee hustles for every fly ball.

- Fukudome’s struggles have continued into the spring and he might be on a “short leash.” $48 Million doesn’t buy you much anymore, does it?

Other News

- In ‘Bout Damn Time News, the Tigers are done with Sheff and are eating his salary. Gary is one home run away from 500. You know, if he never hits another home run again, I call that justice.

- Geoff Jenkins has been released by the Phillies. MLBTR believes the Marlins are interested.

- Turnbow’s going back down to the minors.

- Scotty Po got cut by the Rockies

- Get your tax return ready, 95 Brewer games in HD this year from FSN!

CLASSIC!!! In the World Baseball Sense…

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Rosters have just been finalized for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and five Brewers have survived cuts. No real surprises, but here’s the breakdown.

USA: Ryan Braun

Canada: Brett Lawrie, Adam Stern

Italy: Vinny Rottino, Mark DiFelice

Former Brewers Corey Koskie and Chris Barnwell will also suit up for Canada; Henry Blanco will catch for Venezuela and the recently cut Ramiro Mendoza (after not being capable to qualify for a minor league roster spot) will represent Panama.

Keep up to date on how Brewers player perform throughout the World BaseballClassic at RFB. And for those of you who have a rooting interest for Rottino, DiFelice and the rest of the Italian team… or a hankering for tired stereotypes that tip-toe the line of acceptability, I’ll be covering Italy’s (likely short) WBC stint at Bugs & Cranks for some reason.

Play ball!

Unpopular Opinions: Starting Rotation, Gagne, WBC, Hinske

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve heard more than enough about that plane crash in the Hudson River. I will admit that the pilots responsible for making a very difficult landing and saving everyone’s life should be commended for doing their job the right way. I’m glad everyone made it out relatively unscathed and tragedy was averted. What I’m not happy about is how much press this thing is getting.

This should’ve been a 30-second end of the newscast type thing, but to hear some fauxhawked choad’s prideful proclamation on Headline News that “this is the kind of thing you see in a movie!” as stock footage is incessantly looped – that’s too much. There have been so many more significant aviation incidents. Make a movie, for real? This Hudson River splashdown is like the “Corky Romano” of airline mishaps. It’s a cool soft news story, but let’s move on already.

Also, TGI Fridays (and all like franchises) sucks mandick. I’d honestly rather eat Tyson’s Any’tizers for the rest of my life than ever set foot in a Friday’s again. “Where every day is Friday!” More like, where every day is the food equivalent of your grandmother’s funeral.

Anyway, in unpopular baseball opinions –

McClung and/or Villanueva should be considered for the last spot in the rotation:
I’ve recently converted to the school Brewers fans who support a Braden Looper signing. For the money Milwaukee seems willing to spend on a starter, he’s about the best option out there. Jon Lieber would be a nice option to split time between the rotation and the pen based on need, but if neither of those are signed, I suggest Milwaukee just bump either Seth McClung or Carlos Villanueva into the No.5 spot and allocate the money set aside for a starter to bring in another bullpen arm. If either (or both, if alternated) of those two can string together a season even near what a low ceiling free agent would, it’d be worth it. A small sum of money can purchase a much better reliever than a starter.

Eric Gagne - Future past Brewer? It doesn’t have to be so:
After a season both he and most Brewer fans would like to forget, Eric Gagne has something to prove. Though he’s rumored to be close to a deal with the Twins, I wouldn’t be against Milwaukee making him a cheap, one-year offer to pitch in middle relief. He seemed to find his stride in the second half of last year, and could turn into a quality low-risk signing. Fans treated him like shit here (perhaps rightfully, I’m not the booing type), so I doubt he’d be interested, but why not dangle a line of redemption out there and see if he bites?

World Baseball Classic – It is what it is:
Not since Fidel Castro’s controversial nude scene on “Veronica’s Closet” has something that so few people watched inspired such controversy. If it’s not A-Rod playing for a country he’s never stepped foot in, it’s Brewers 25-man bubble-sitters opting to compete or Yovani Gallardo pitching for Mexico after missing most of 2008. My view is, it’s up the player. If Yo wants to risk injury and future earnings to will Mexico to a likely 3rd place finish, it’s his call. If Mark DiFelice, Rob Swindle, Vinny Rottino and Adam Stern want to punch their tickets to Nashville before Spring Training ends, let them. Trot Nixon will just take all of their spots.

Hinske Hintskes and a message to Tom:
I’m pretty sure Haudricourt has poached from us, among other evil blogs with our collective lack of access and, thus, knowledge. Whatever, meng… take what you want, misuse your MVP and Hall of Fame votes and continue to look like you’re on the verge of tears all you want, just do me this one solid. Drop some Hinske Hintskes to Doug Melvin and Gord Ash the next time you call them. Just slide in some comments during unrelated interviews or something…

TH: “Doug, do you think Trot Nixon has what it takes to be this year’s Eric Hinske – a versatile bench option that can hit 20 homers and steal 10 bases? Oh shit, Stash, now that I mention it… I just obtained a story from a blog I didn’t link to on my post that detailed how Hinske is available and is still the max tits. You should probably sign him now.”

DM: “That sounds a boot right!”

Make it happen.


Friday, March 21st, 2008


I thought this year would be different. I felt the time had finally come.

No, I’m not talking about a NL Central crown or Wold Series bid… though I hope for both of those things too. I am referring to a reasonable hope that my favorite Brewer, one Vinny Rottino, would have an Opening Day roster spot.

Alas, this isn’t to be that fateful year. The Brewers sent Rottino and Stetter to Nashville today. I understand Stetter, as the pen was…and with his exit, still is considerably clogged, but I thought stars were aligning for Racine’s native son.

I suppose, removing the biased scope of a fan attached to a home state appeal… sending down a player as versatile, talented and chock full of moxie as Rottino is a good thing. The club is beyond promoting personnel perhaps better suited (in terms of team structure, not individual dues) in the minors to the bigs for the sake of a good story.

I take sending down a player like Vinny to be a sign of the immense talent that remains Milwaukee bound. And much like a girl breaking your heart in your first month of courting oppose to leaving you on your five year anniversary, at least his demotion wasn’t as down to the wire as last year’s disappointment when Rottino was the last to be sent down prior to opening day. I don’t know if he nor I could have handled such a heartbreak again.

In all - the world will continue to spin, barely… and a spot at the end of the bench will be occupied by another player Ned tags a “gamer.” I hate to hope for Vinny to be brought up pre-September, as it’d indicate a probable injury to a regular player… but my cousin Vinny has earned a spot in Brew city and, his time will come. I’m sure he’s upset, but will take it in stride and - the driven underdog his is, will keep working en route to realizing an extension of his big league dreams.

Until then, tear it up in Nashville, Vinny. And, oh… make sure to go to Piranha’s on 2nd avenue… their sandwiches are delicious.

Summer (backup) catch… not starring Freddie Prinze Jr.

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Vinny Rottino

Let’s face it… the Brewers clubhouse is a crowded one. A franchise that once boasted Scott Karl its number two starter and reguiled over outfield gloves like Jeffery Hammonds, now finds its rotation eight plus deep, its outfield packed with six recognizable and reckonable gloves and its infield potent…if not admirable.

One unspecified slot of availability and perhaps the most gaping hole that stretches the pantheons of Nashville and the mastery of Miller Park rests in the backbone of many a franchise - the catching position.

Mike Rivera, Eric Munson and Vinny Rottino are each engaged in a heated battle for the backup spot - potentially the final spot - on the Milwaukee bench. To me the answer is simple.

Obviously the Brewers see something in Eric Munson. In signing the former Tiger, D-Ray and Astro last fall the club was likely hoping to cash in on unfound potential that accompanied an early round pick of old. To this point in the early spring session Munson has shown his worth… essentially doing nothing. He’d be one of the few left-handed hitters in the lineup should he crack it…but with what he’s shown to date and the lackluster showcase he’s put on recently, I pray the side of the plate he hits on doesn’t hand him an undeserved roster spot.

Mike Rivera could be a losing club’s Chad Moeller of 2004. He’s stuck around to become an early 30’s backup capable of 10+ homers and 45 RBI if granted 250 ABs. His OPS leaves something to be desired but he can call a decent game - I’ll take him, but I won’t smile about it.

Finally, Vinny Rottino… my pick to obtain the last roster spot on the Brewers. Though biased because he’s my favorite player, a Rottino promotion wouldn’t come as a feel good story, but instead as an earned place in the clubhouse. Rottino was not only a AAA All-Star at catcher last season in Nashville, he can also aptly play the other seven remaining non-outfield positions. He is a player with power potential, a respectable batting average, stolen base capabilities and - the kicker - he’s actually performing in Spring Training. Despite my love for Mr. Rottino, at a position that looks to be occupied by the usually durable Jason Kendall for most of the year…it’d be good to know there’s exists a versitile, talented and homegrown safety net at possibly the most pivitol Brewer vacancy.

A Brief Note on my Favorite Brewer…

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

…Vincent Antonio Rottino signed a contract with the Brewers today, as was briefly outlined at the end of a Tom Haudricourt blog post. Not surprisingly, the signing places him on the team’s 40-man Spring Training roster.

Rottino was the final player sent to Nashville prior to the 2007 season. Able to effectively play every non-pitching position, he will again contend for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

To date, the Racine, WI native has logged five Major League hits in 23 career at bats. Prior to being called up from Triple-A Nashville last September, he was a Pacific Coast League All-Star.

Vinny Watch 2K7

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Vinny Rottino

For those of you not in the know, I love Vinny Rottino. As the last Brewer sent to Nashville at Spring Training’s end, he sits at the cusp of a big league roster spot, straddling the line of minor league god to major league super double god.

With the Crew on fire right now and absolutely EVERY position player contributing mightyly, Vinny may be in Tennessee for a bit longer than some of us might’ve anticipated. Yet, with one struggling backup or (sweet Allah forbid) an injury, Mr. Rottino, Mr. Versatility, the hometown hero will likely be the first name called to Brew City.

Until that wonderful day when “eventually” is cemented into “now,” I will try to deliver you an update of his progress as a Sound, so when he’s under the bright lights of Miller Park, we’ll all know what he’s capable of.

Vinny Watch 2K7: The Skrilla Lives
In 65 At Bats: 5 Homers, 14 RBI, 2 Stolen Bases, .292 Average, 1 Huge Heart, Infinate Moxie.

Insomniac Ink