Issue 2.30: July 26, 2007

Media Guide: By Barry Silverman


In a recent Press Box High School Then and Now, Keith Mills talked with Jodi Cutler, a native Baltimorean now living in Grosetto, Italy, about her book “RALLY CAPS.” The book, which she co-authored with her father and my friend Stephen Cutler, is about a young boy who is hit by a pitch and becomes afraid to play baseball. (By the way, one of the camp kids in the book is named Silverman, and another named Barry. How bout that!) At summer camp he overcomes his fear, thanks to the encouragement of a hearing-impaired youngster from Italy. Jodi Cutler wrote the book so her own hearing impaired son would have a character to relate to. In the book, the boys love of baseball is inspired by the Cutler’s baseball hero, Ripken. In fact, this weekend, Stephen Cutler will be at Augurs Bookstore in Cooperstown signing books. “RALLY CAPS” is also on sale at the Hall of Fame’s Museum Bookstore.

Issue 2.28: July 12, 2007


By Keith Mills 

When Jodi Cutler was playing three sports at Pikesville High School in the late ’80s, the last thing she thought she would be doing nearly 20 years later was promoting a book and living in Italy. “You can’t control your own destiny,” Cutler said. “Wherever it takes you, it takes you.” Destiny and Cutler’s husband, Luca Del Dottore, have taken her to Grosseto, Italy, a coastal town in Tuscany halfway between Florence and Rome. Cutler spent the last decade in Grosetto teaching English at a local school, raising her two children (4-year-old Sofia and 10-year-old Jordan) and writing a book with her father, Stephen, called “RALLY CAPS.” It is a story about how a young baseball player who idolizes Cal Ripken Jr. stopped playing because of an injury and battles to get back on the field. “My father lives in West Palm Beach and had been pressuring me to write it for the last six years,” Cutler said. “But when somebody tells you, ’Write a book, write a book,’ it’s almost impossible to do. Somehow we got it done.” For Jodi Cutler, the story hits home hard like a Ripken line drive. Ripken is one of the inspirations for the book. The other is her son Jordan. (Courtesy of Publish America) “There’s a child named Jordan who is a die-hard Cal Ripken fan,” Cutler said of her book’s plot. “He suffers a lot of anxiety toward baseball because he gets flung in the face with a baseball bat and he’s afraid to play. He goes to a baseball camp and meets a strong, hearing-impaired boy who convinces him to get back on the field. He is wearing a hearing device, a cochlear hearing implant.” Cutler’s son is also hearing-impaired and wears a cochlear implant. “My son was born profoundly deaf,” Cutler said. “He goes to speech therapy three times a week. When he was 8, he got a cochlear implant. At the time, I was jotting things down for the book but when he had the implant done — and it was an incredible success — the story really began moving along.” And incredibly, Jordan has yet to read it. “It’s written in English and he can’t read English,” said Cutler. He speaks and reads Italian. But we’re working to get it translated for him.”

Cutler graduated in 1989 from Pikesville High School, where she lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in English, language and literature, she returned to Baltimore County to teach and coach junior varsity basketball at Randallstown and Pikesville and softball at Franklin and Randallstown. But it was as a gifted scholar-athlete at Pikesville High in 1989 when Cutler’s life took an interesting turn. She took a trip to Italy as part of an exchange program and met her husband-to-be on the streets of Grosseto. “I thought he was ’hot, so I talked to him, Cutler said. We stayed in touch, went back and forth, back and forth for about seven years. Then we got engaged. I was teaching here and he was working there. Then I got pregnant. That decided it.” So Cutler moved to Italy, where she and her husband began to raise a family. In 1997, Jordan was born, followed in 2003 by Sofia. Jordan, despite his hearing challenges, began to play baseball.

“Baseball in Italy is like soccer in the United States,” Cutler said. “Fortunately, he plays on a good team with great coaches.”

Meanwhile, back in West Palm Beach, Stephen Cutler was still trying to convince his daughter to co-write a book with him. At that point, he had found another inspiring reason to do it — Curtis Pride. Pride, an 11-year major league veteran, is also hearing impaired. A 10th-round pick in the 1986 amateur draft out of John F. Kennedy High School in Montgomery County, Pride has played for six major league teams. He is presently at triple AAA in Salt Lake City with the LA Angels of Anaheim. He runs a foundation called Together With Pride, which raises money for families to purchase devices like a cochlear implant. Stephen Cutler met Pride in 2001 in West Palm Beach and began a relationship that continues to this day. In fact, Pride has endorsed “RALLY CAPS” and has been one of the book’s biggest advocates. “Curtis actually wanted the book to be about the hearing-impaired character,” Jodi Cutler said. “But I wanted the book to be a mainstream book for all children to read. That’s how I see my son.” And that’s how Cutler hopes others see the book. So far, so good. Since Jodi Cutler has returned to Baltimore, she has had book signings at Borders Express in White Marsh, Breathe Books in Hampden and the Ivy Bookshop on Falls Road. “Everyone has been so helpful,” Cutler said. “I really didn’t have to ask for help because everyone gets the message — how a child with a handicap can help other children. I am humbled by the experience.” She has also been a guest on multiple local TV and radio programs, and on July 27-28, Stephen Cutler will sign books at the Augurs Book Store on Main Street in Cooperstown, N.Y., as part of Ripken’s Hall of Fame induction. Ripken remains a huge part of the Cutler message. “The important aspect for me as to why he’s an inspiration for the book is because he has

such a strong work ethic,” Jodi Cutler said. “He started playing at Memorial Stadium and my dad took my sister Niki and me to a lot of games growing up and he was always there. Everybody says it’s so easy playing the game of baseball. But I just can’t imagine playing through good times, bad times, bad press, through slumps, through nicks, through the negative things. Not just through the positive things. Yet day in, day out, he always went to work. He went through it all and has risen above all else to where he is today.” Today, Cutler celebrates life in Grosseto, far from her home in Pikesville where she and Niki grew up playing baseball with the boys. Now she returns to her roots as the author of “RALLY CAPS.”

“Why RALLY CAPS? I remember when I was a counselor at Camp Milldale [Owings Mills] and we used to say, ’Put on your rally caps, let’s go!’ Cutler said. “I love the idea of a team coming from behind. It’s the best part of baseball.”


Issue 2.18: May 3, 2007

Media Guide: Hard Ball off the Field

by Barry Silverman


Congratulations to local guy Steve Cutler, who along with daughter Jodi co-wrote a newly published children’s book, “RALLY CAPS.” Jodi’s son Jordan, who is hearing impaired and wears a cochlear implant, was the inspiration behind this book. According to Steve, Jodi wanted to provide a strong character in literature that her son, my grandson, could identify with. Curtis Pride, the only deaf player in major league baseball, appreciated their effort and graciously endorsed the book. Pride made history in 1996 when he got his first major league hit to a standing ovation while with the Montreal Expos. He later went on to play for the Tigers, Braves, Red Sox and Angels. Plus, since Steve and Jodi gave Cal Ripken Jr. a major role in the story line, a bookstore in Cooperstown has invited them to come up for a signing during the week of Ripken’s induction to the Hall of Fame this summer. For more information go to http://www.rallycaps2007.wordpress.com.


Father & Daughter Collaborate Across an Ocean to Write RALLY CAPS


Staff photo/Matt Dean

Michael Davis, Wellington Forum Staff Writer (Wellington, FL newspaper) 

In a recently released book, Stephen Cutler combined a baseball incident he had

when he was 10 with his grandson who wears a cochlear implant.

The Royal Palm Beach resident collaborated with his daughter, Jodi Cutler Del

Dottore, on a six-year project that produced RALLY CAPS, an 87-page book about a boy

overcoming obstacles and believing nothing is impossible.

Cutler’s daughter lives in the Tuscan town of Grosseto, Italy, with her husband,

Luca, and children, Jordan and Sofia. The two shared ideas and wrote via daily e-mail.

The event that Cutler used to set the stage for RALLY CAPS was an incident that

happened while he was taking part in Little League tryouts. After coming off the field to

sit on the bench, Cutler was hit by a bat that had slipped out of the coach’s hands.

Cutler received a compound fracture and sixteen stitches in his nose and missed

a Little League season.

RALLY CAPS deals with a boy’s anxiety about getting back on the baseball field

when he goes to summer camp.

Cutler Michelle Cutler, 35, used Jordan’s experience of being diagnosed with hearing

loss at age 1. He used hearing aids successfully for eight years and received a cochlear

implant in his left ear in 2004. He plays baseball.

“The motivation for writing this book was to mainstream a hearing-impaired

character with a cochlear implant in literature,” Jodi Cutler said from her home in

Italy. “It is fundamental that our children are represented in literature and that they are

represented as the strong, sensitive individuals they become as a result of living with a


Cutler, 61, a lifelong Baltimore Orioles and Cal Ripken Jr. fan, used Ripken as a

role model in RALLY CAPS. Cutler said the way Ripken played baseball and his belief in

celebrating the game played a major role.

Ripken will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 29 in

Cooperstown, N.Y.  Cutler believes that it was fate that RALLY CAPS came out the same year that Ripken is to be inducted.

Cutler, a retired human resources director from Maryland, attended Cal’s

Baseball Fantasy Camp in 2001. Before Cutler pitched in a seven-inning game, he was

warmed up by Ripken.

A rally cap is a baseball cap worn inside-out while trying to will your team into a

come-from-behind rally late in the game. According to Cutler, the rally cap was first

featured during the 1985 baseball season when New York Mets fans occasionally wore

their baseball caps inside-out to generate a come-from-behind victory.

The superstition spread to Mets players, and the rally cap became part of the

national scene during the 1986 World Series.

“It’s really an unbelievable feeling to have something that you have worked on so

hard and for so long come to fruition,” Cutler said while holding his first copy of RALLY

CAPS, which had just been delivered. “Jodi’s creativity really enhanced the story along

with my facts and figures about the game.”

Jodi shared the sentiments of working with her father, calling it


“It was a very special and unique experience collaborating with my father,” she said. “I’m very appreciative to have had the opportunity to create something

special. And to think we did it all by e-mail.”

For more information, visit http://www.rallycaps2007.wordpress.com


Forum Staff Writer


RALLY AROUND RALLY CAPS by the Italian Cultural Center



by former Baltimoreans Stephen J. Cutler with his daughter

Jodi Michelle Cutler, now of Grosseto, Italy


Rally Cap: A baseball cap worn inside-out or in another unconventional manner by players or fans in order to will a team into a come-from-behind rally late in the game.



Rally Caps is a humorous, fun-filled baseball and camp story. Ten year old Jordan is injured in an unfortunate and frightening accident while trying out for the Little League Travel team. At summer camp he struggles to conquer his anxiety and fear in order to return to his beloved game of baseball. He forms a friendship with a deaf Italian boy, Luca, who wears a cochlear implant. Luca’s compelling positive nothing is impossible attitude, along with the inspiration he draws from his idol, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., gives Jordan the courage to return to baseball with a passion. Find out what happens as “Rally Caps” are raised in the bottom of the final inning in the biggest game of Jordan’s life. Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Rally Caps is a “must-read” for girls and boys alike, for fans of baseball (especially the Baltimore Orioles!) and for anyone looking for a story of encouragement and spirit. The book draws its inspiration from the authors’ personal history and love of baseball as well as their admiration for baseball greats Cal Ripken, Jr. and Curtis Pride, the only deaf player in modern major league baseball. The character of Luca is based on Jodi Cutler Del Dottore’s son Jordan, who is hearing impaired, wears a cochlear implant and continues the family tradition of playing baseball. Jordan received his cochlear implant from doctors in Pisa when he was eight years old. “Italy saved my son,” says Jodi.

Authors Stephen J. Cutler and his daughter Jodi Cutler Del Dottore are Baltimoreans with a strong Italian connection. As a Pikesville High   School student in the late 1980’s, Jodi Cutler participated in the study exchange program to Grosseto, Italy created by Italian Consul in Baltimore, Dr. Francesco Legaluppi. That experience led to romance and ultimately marriage to Italian native, Luca Del Dottore. Today, Jodi and Luca live with their two children, Jordan and Sofia, in Grosseto.

Support these hometown authors by attending one of their book signings. And learn how Italian medicine changed the life of their grandson/son.


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RALLY CAPS Wins Best Children’s 7 and Over Book

By Reader Views 2007 Annual Reviewer’s Choice Award


Austin, Texas, March 20, 2008—RALLY CAPS, ISBN 1-4241-7381-7, Co-Authored by father-daughter team of Stephen J. Cutler and Jodi Michelle Cutler, 2007, published by Publish America, was selected as the Best Children’s 7 and Over Book of 2007 by Reader Views Annual Literary Awards. Reader Views Annual Literary Awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published by a small press, university press, or independent book publisher.

 “Reader Views reviews more than 2,000 books per year from budding authors who have worked hard to achieve their dream of being published,” Reader Views Managing Editor Irene Watson says. “Our Annual Literary Awards recognize the very best of these up-and-coming authors, all talented writers who we know have very promising writing careers ahead of them.”

The Reader Views Annual Literary Awards are granted in 20 fiction and 30 nonfiction categories, as well as 15 specialized, sponsored categories. The entries are judged by Reader Views reviewers, all avid readers with a wide range of experiences, considered experts in the respective fields.

Reader Views is currently accepting submissions for the 2008 Literary Awards. Entry information, registration forms and further information can be found online at http://www.readerviews.com/Awards.html.  Reader Views is an Austin, Texas, based company. They started December 2005 as a volunteer-based book review service. Shortly after the company’s birth they expanded into offering publicity services to authors. Now they are a one-stop center for budding authors. For more information, visit www.readerviews.com.

RALLY CAPS is a humorous, fun-filled baseball and camp story. Ten-year old Jordan is injured in a frightening baseball accident. Recovery is difficult. At summer camp, he forms a friendship with a deaf Italian boy, Luca, who wears a cochlear implant. Luca’s compelling “Nothing is Impossible” attitude, along with the inspiration from his idol, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. gives Jordan the courage to return to baseball with a passion. RALLY CAPS blends fiction with baseball facts and history.

Recently Cal Ripken Jr. endorsed RALLY CAPS by saying, “RALLY CAPS is a heartwarming book about perseverance and courage. Congratulations to Steve and Jodi for taking the challenges in their lives and turning it into a wonderful book that helps teach valuable lessons of acceptance and resilience to kids and adults alike.”

Jodi Cutler’s motivation for writing was to create a strong hearing-impaired character who wears a cochlear implant, to provide a character in literature with whom her son and other deaf children could identify. Jodi, who lives in Grosseto, Italy, has taken RALLY CAPS a step further and is educating the Deaf community with her daily blog, “An American Mom in Tuscany: Jordan’s Cochlear Implant Story,” at www.rallycapsdotnet.blogspot.com.

RALLY CAPS, published by Publish America, Frederick, MD, ISBN 1-4241-7381-7, 2007, cover art by Kathy Temean, www.temeanconsulting.com, may be purchased by contacting Stephen via email or at amazon.com online. RALLY CAPS is soon to go on an international level as Casa Editrice Innocenti, a publish house in Grosseto, Italy, will publish RALLY CAPS in Italian in May, 2008. 



“RALLY CAPS is a story that really hit home with me. Growing up, my hearing friends quickly learned being deaf makes no difference, just like the character Jordan discovers in this book. There is a very real message here – nothing is impossible!

–Curtis Pride, ’07 LA Angels of Anaheim (the first full-season deaf player in the modern era of Major League Baseball); ’09-Present – Head Baseball Coach Galluadet University

“RALLY CAPS is a heartwarming book about perseverance and courage. Congratulations to Steve and Jodi for taking the challenges in their lives and turning it into a wonderful book that helps teach valuable lessons of acceptance and resilience to kids and adults alike.”

 –Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore Orioles, 2007 Hall of Fame

“RALLY CAPS celebrates the game of baseball as it’s meant to be played by teaching kids fundamentals and teamwork with a few entertaining old-fashioned pranks. This is one story I’ll be reading to my grandchildren!”

–Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, 1983 Hall of Fame


“I really enjoyed the book RALLY CAPS. It is a compelling story of a boy who learns to never give up in overcoming some of the difficulties that life brings. It is important reading for all parents, especially Dads. As a father of two children who play multiple sports, I was truly inspired by this book.’’

–Tim Kurkjian, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine and Baseball Tonight Analyst