Milwaukee Brewers' Vinny Rottino: a faith that's out of the ballpark
By Deacon Greg Kandra
OCTOBER 9, 2007 (http://deacbench.blogspot.com) - Milwaukee is known for much more than beer: these days, it's also brewing a star Catholic baseball player named Vinny Rottino.
He's living his faith and proclaiming it -- most recently, in the pages of the Milwaukee Catholic newspaper:
Kathie Solie remembers vividly the day in 2002 when her young groundskeeper at the Siena Center waited for a phone call that never came.
Vinny Rottino, the 1998 St. Catherine High School, Racine, graduate who had been doing maintenance work at the Racine retreat house since his senior year of high school, was washing windows at the center on the day of the Major League Baseball draft.
A standout shortstop at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he was named a first-team All-American and earned first-team NCAA Division III honors, Rottino expected to be chosen in the draft.
“He was waiting for a phone call that day because the (Milwaukee) Brewers had said they planned to draft him,” said Solie, administrator at the Siena Center, “but as it turned out, the phone never rang.
“He was very disappointed and I remember talking to him in the break room a day or so afterward and I told him, ‘God has a plan for you. If the plan is baseball, you will get there.’”
And get there, he has!
Rottino, a catcher for the Brewers, added to the highlight film of his major league career on Saturday night as he pinch hit in the bottom of the 11th inning, singling to knock in the winning run in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory by the Brewers. The win ensured that the Brewers would finish with their first winning season since 1992.
As he was mobbed at home plate by his teammates celebrating the victory, Marcia and Tony Rottino, members of St. Paul Parish, Racine, watched from the stands with pride as their son continued to live his lifelong dream.
“Whenever he comes to bat, I always say a lot of prayers,” admitted Marcia, a Racine public health nurse, in a telephone interview with your Catholic Herald. “It was just a wonderful moment for him to come through for the team.”
As he lives out the dream that began in the backyard of their Racine home when Rottino played catch with his dad, he hasn’t strayed far from his close-knit family nor his Catholic roots which, he said, continue to ground him.
The youngest of the Rottinos’ four children and the only boy, Rottino, 27, told your Catholic Herald that faith was always a central part of his family life.
“My parents have always been real devout Catholics. Both of my parents instilled in us a devotion to the church. You can really sense that in my parents, in my dad, and that’s really shaped my faith,” he said.
Rottino said he tries to attend Mass a couple times a week and continues to look for ways to learn more about his faith.
“I’ve been seeking out the teachings of the Catholic Church, because what the Catholic Church teaches is not exactly elementary, so I’ve been trying to learn more about it. It’s helped my commitment to (the faith) because the more I learn about it, the more truth is revealed, the more beauty is revealed in the church and it’s really shaped me,” he said, noting he likes to watch EWTN and listen to Relevant Radio.
Teammate Jeff Suppan, a pitcher acquired by the Brewers last offseason, has been a real “blessing,” noted Rottino. Rottino said he and Suppan, a fellow Catholic, often discuss faith and have recently watched together a 13-part “Our Father’s Plan,” a Catholic Bible study video hosted by Catholic apologists, Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins.
“Jeff (Suppan) has been great. I’ve learned from him and his faith and we talk about different things about the church,” he said, noting it is rare to find a Catholic teammate willing to discuss faith. “Usually, Catholic guys are less vocal about it.”
There's more up at the link, so read it all and enjoy.
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