Former UWL Eagle Vinny Rottino gets back in the game with Brewers

Rottino joins 'Brewers Live' crew for 2021 season

The jump from Division III to Major League Baseball is often a big one, but Vinny Rottino didn’t mind.

“Mike Stuhr gave me a chance to play even though I may not have been one of the better players on the team even as a freshman and sophomore,” Rottino recalled. “Finally junior year I gained the strength to realize I could be pretty good.”

Despite an All-American final year with the Eagles, MLB teams didn’t take him in the draft. A year later playing club baseball for UW-Madison, the dream was still in his head.

“They were like this guy is telling us he’s going to play professional baseball and he’s at UW-Madison playing for the club baseball team,” Rottino said. “This guy’s nuts.”

The Brewers of all teams picked him up, and after three years of grinding, Rottino realized his dream.

“I don’t think I would’ve stuck it out as long as I did if I didn’t have this burning desire,” Rottino said. “I can’t even explain what it is. I just knew I wanted to play ever since I was a little kid. I loved the game that much. I was the kid who would go to practice and then go home and keep practicing.”

That grind carried him through six more years of stints with different clubs, all the way to Japan in 2013 and Korea the year after 2014, with his playing days coming to an end in 2016.

“When I was playing I was kind of married to the game,” Rottino said. “It all happens for a reason, I believe, so I met my wife at the tail end of my career, and then I realized with a baby on the way I wasn’t going to keep doing this.”

Rottino in the last few years went from player to Texas Rangers pro scout to corporate America in Racine. Now, the Brewers have a new title for him: broadcaster.

“I was a colleague of Mike Anderson, who’s a scout for the Texas Rangers,” Rottino said. “That’s Brian Anderson’s brother. Brian thought I’d be good at the broadcast gig, and I thought yeah, that would be a dream job.”

Rottino will serve as an analyst for Brewers Live this season, joining the likes of Craig Coshun and fellow former Brewer Tim Dillard.

“I’m learning how to talk about it on TV,” he said. “It’s different from talking about it in the clubhouse.”

It’s not something he pictured himself doing twenty years ago, but he sees it as a perfect way to stay in the game he’s devoted his life to.

“The more you get comfortable and realize this is just a conversation, I think I’ll get better at it,” Rottino said, “but I’m not an expert at it. I’ll have fun with it.”