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.


EQUITABLE BUILDING, SUITE 944 TEN NORTH CALVERT STREET BALTIMORE, MARYLAND 21202 USA TEL 410-547-9934 FAX 410-727-6563 http://www.palazzoitalia.org




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. 



An American Mom in Tuscany: Jordan’s Cochlear Implant Story


BLOG: Monday, June 23, 2008

Newborn Hearing Screening Conference June, 2008 – My Speech

Here’s my speech! I will say this – at a certain point, I started shaking, like a physiological reaction or something. I began fairly calmly and suddenly, I got the shakes. Luckily, I started the PowerPoint presentation at that moment, so I managed to pull it back together, but it got a little sticky there for a minute. I don’t know that I followed it word for word, but the jist was this:

Good Morning. My name is Jodi Cutler. I am an American Mom living in
Tuscany. My 11 year old son Jordan was born profoundly deaf, wore hearing aids for eight years and three years ago was implanted in Pisa by Prof. Stefano Berrettini with Cochlear’s Nucleus 24. His first processor was an Esprit 3G, and he currently wears a Freedom. All of our expenses have been covered by the Italian National Healthcare Service.

The cochlear implant changed our lives. From the moment of activation, Jordan flew, grew and found his voice. Because he found his voice, I was able to raise mine regarding our experience. My father and I wrote the book RALLY CAPS, and incorporated a strong deaf character with a cochlear implant just like my son, because every child has the right to find himself in literature. RALLY CAPS has been endorsed by Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, and Curtis Pride, the only Deaf Major League Baseball baseball player. It was published in the United   States and has just recently been published in Italy. At the book presentation two weeks ago, I invited the Medical Professionals involved in helping our child, each and every one of them not only attended the presentation, but they spoke.

The following is the dedication in the Italian Version of Rally Caps to all of the medical professionals and teachers who have assisted us in raising Jordan’s voice:
Placing your child in the hands of other people and having to trust these people with your child is the most difficult thing for a mother. When life requires that you ask for the help and support of persons outside of the family, you suddenly find yourself in an extremely vulnerable position. Finding professionals willing to offer all of their efforts and competencies, who moreover demonstrate the ability to love your child in such a way as to contribute to his growth is…extremely rare.


I traveled ten hours, changed trains four times and sweated my way to a hole in the wall of a hotel room with a bathroom in the hall to provide you with this message: There is NO greater ally in making your job a success than the Mother of the Deaf Child you are assisting. I am here today, based on my experience here in Italy, to provide you with a Mother’s perspective.

Jordan was born in Baltimore and was extremely alert and obviously intelligent. There was no newborn hearing screening program at that time. Because Jordan was so intelligent, we questioned our pediatrician numerous times regarding his lack of language expression, he wasn’t babbling at all. Each and every time, my pediatrician called me neurotic… Motherly piece of advice number 1: LISTEN TO A MOTHER’S OPINION, THERE IS NO ONE WHO KNOWS HER CHILD BETTER.

As an American Mom thrilled to be living in Tuscany, I jumped off the airplane with ten month old Jordan slung over my shoulder ready to dive into some Chianti and pecorino cheese. One month after we settled into our new small town
Grosseto lifestyle, we took Jordan for his first check up with our new pediatrician. Dr. Giovanni Lenzi performed a standard Boel test which involved distracting Jordan with one hand and ringing bells with the other- to which Jordan had no reaction. We were sent to Florence where they performed an ABR that indicated Jordan’s profound bilateral sensory-neural hearing loss. However, try to imagine the scene in that office…

When this audiologist came to speak at my book presentation a week ago, she commented on how different I was compared to that first day that I met her. I was a 25 year old American Mamma wearing cut-off jeans shorts, very broken in tennis shoes who didn’t speak a lick of Italian. What I didn’t tell her, because the most important thing in our relationship was the fact that she loved Jordan, was how angry she made me the day she gave me that news of my son’s deafness. She looked right through me…and spoke to my mother in law. And when I intervened by means of my husband and said, you need to talk to me, I AM THE MOTHER, she began calling me “dear.”

Motherly words of wisdom number 2: When you give a parent news of their child’s hearing loss, look them directly in the eye and never look at them with pity. If that mother is Hispanic or deaf, make arrangements for an interpreter to be present because the news you give that mother will change the rest of her life.

Armed and dangerous with hearing aids, next stop Auditory-Verbal Therapy four times a week. Advice Point 3: This one’s for the Speech and language Pathologists, and Auditory-Verbal Therapists: Encourage that Mom who now assumes a new role as Mom/Teacher, focus on the positive progress made.
Imagine your typical playground scene, it is natural for a mother to teach her son right from wrong, how not to climb up the sliding board or not to push the child in front of him…it is not natural to have to shove language down your son’s throat “Oh, look, there’s a toy train, can you say Toot Toot? Oh, look that little girl has a toy car, Brrrrrooom, brrrrooom!” This dual role of teacher/mother blew me away, I am a teacher, but I have Never had a student as stubborn as my son. My speech therapist explained that my son’s temper tantrums were due to his frustrations regarding his inadequacy in expressing himself; he threw a lot of temper tantrums, so he must have been extremely frustrated.

It was my son’s frustration and the fact that he was falling behind socially that led us to choose the cochlear implant.

After a couple of opinions and research we found Santa Chiara Hospital in
Pisa where Dr. Francesca Forli answered every single one of my fifty questions calmly, objectively and sincerely. I had found my implant team. Prof. Stefano Berrettini performed the Implant Surgery leaving Jordan’s residual hearing intact. He provided me with his personal cell phone in case of emergency and called a couple of times to check on Jordan’s progress, note Jordan’s operation was the day before Christmas. I am not asking you to give up your personal lives for your patients, however it might be a sort of a human touch to delegate a phone call to a member of the implant team to find out how that child is doing…and how that mom is doing. A calm mother means a calm child.
Motherly request number 4: Go above and beyond the call of duty every now and then, it goes a long way in establishing a collaborative effort with the mother of that child, which will only make your work more successful.

The cochlear implant enabled my son to become independent. Our journey has not been easy, but it has been extremely rewarding.

After spending ten years without support, I found the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle a community of over one thousand parents at various stages of the cochlear implant journey. Some parents use ASL as a bridge or in conjunction with spoken English…other parents strictly use the Auditory-Verbal approach. We exchange information regarding the latest technology and offer psychological support having been there and done that. I then joined the blogging community, which has led to a productive dialogue with the Deaf Community. Hearing mothers of Deaf babies with CIs are making a difference in opening minds within the Deaf Community.
Mom’s Final Request: Provide that Mother with resources to help her through the lifelong journey with her deaf child.

I would like to share a little poem by Shel Silverstein entitled
Listen to the Mustn’ts

Listen to the Mustn’ts, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

We are an example that Anything is possible. Empower that mother by validating her concerns, looking her directly in the eyes when you speak to her and providing her with resources that offer support and guidance… and you will save that child.


Jodi Michelle Cutler


An American Mom in Tuscany: Jordan’s Cochlear Implant Story


BLOG FROM June 17, 2008-06-17


NHS 2008…Here I come! Packing, packing, practicing my speech and packing. I’m lugging fifty books in two different languages, three pairs of shoes, and two outfits for each of the three days I’ll be there. Of course two changes of clothes really means four a day, because a woman must have the option to choose. Ten hours on the train should be enough time to memorize my speech, which by the way the organizer who is my new best friend, told me is touching and inspirational. (After I had to cut about three pages…got a little bit long-winded)*smile* I have already been invited to the VIP cocktail hour tomorrow night; I’m telling you I love this gentleman. After a ten hour train ride, I will be ready for some serious sipping.

I’ve broken the speech into sections regarding experiences lived with our Pediatrician, Audiologist, Speech Therapist and Cochlear Implant Team. My favorite part is explaining how to understand Deafness, but I’ll post the entire speech when I get back.

You know, just like Val wrote about in her Maw Maw post, I never prayed to God to cure Jordan‘s deafness, I only always prayed for the strength to be a good mom. However, only one month after Jordan‘s CI activation, when he began understanding more than two sentences put together, I remember praying for the chance to thank all of the doctors who helped my son reach the point he is today. I mean I really prayed hard. When the Italian National magazine CHI contacted me and RAI 1 the Italian National TV did the same, I was so grateful for the opportunity to thank all of these people. Doctors don’t even realize the power they have, not only in regard to their ability to diagnose an illness or perform a successful surgery; it’s the human side they add to the equation that truly renders their job a success. We have always been fortunate to have found sensitive Medical Professionals. Maybe they have been sensitive and gone that extra little bit, because we have always said “thank you,” but that little extra bit is what changes everything.

Anyway, the prayer for the opportunity to thank these professionals has kind of exploded and turned into a desire to try to make a difference in some small way. For some reason, people close to me don’t understand this need of mine. They think I am consumed with the “success” of the book. The “success” of RALLY CAPS, which was really only written to give something back to my dad for having been such a good father, is that it led me to the support groups and creating this blog, which as I’ve said a million times is a healing experience for me.

The true “success” of RALLY CAPS will be if my speech on Thursday morning has a positive impact on some of these Medical Professionals who treat our kids. If that occurs, then, yes…RALLY CAPS will have truly become an enormous success.
Cross your fingers!

I’ll report back on Sunday…I’m outta here!

Posted by Jodi Cutler Del Dottore at 2:31 PM

Labels: NHS 2008 RALLY CAPS cochlear implant parenting medical professionals

What is a “Rally Cap?”

…A superstition used in baseball….it’s a baseball cap worn inside-out or in another unconventional manner while trying to will your team into a come-from-behind rally late in the game.

    The belief behind the “rally cap” is generally to sacrifice a small amount of one’s dignity in exchange for a little luck for one’s team. It is also widely      understood that the baseball cap must be one depicting the logo of the team in order to be used as a “rally cap.”



Go to Amazon.com’s Kindle Ebook Store. If you use an EReader then the best way to purchase a RALLY CAPS E-Book in an EPUB or MOBI format is to send an email request directly to Stephen Cutler at scutler_46@yahoo.com. Steve will send you instructions on how to use PayPal or the address for sending a check. Pricing: $5.99 (Check); $6.99 (PayPal); or $7.25 (Amazon.com).