The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VI, Issue 28 - October 1, 2007 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 6, Issue #28 - October 1, 2007
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2007
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello bocce faithful,

Last chance to help us out with our annual Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tourney (10/7/07). This will be our third annual Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament. Previous MFCBT events have raised funds for The Jimmy Fund and The Joey Fund. This year we're shooting for the lofty goal of $50,000 for Alzheimer's Research. Hope you can help us with a donation or, better yet, come on down and play in the event. More details at

Best regards,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

See photos from last year's Martignetti FCBT...

Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

Controversy in the NYC Bocce Championships

There was "Trouble in Dodge" recently in the NYC Bocce Championships. The annual event brings the winning teams from each of the NYC boroughs together for the city championship and accompanying bragging rights.

The NYC Parks Department reaches out for sponsors and Sportscraft usually donates a set of balls for each park that hosts elimination rounds. According to bocce aficionado and USBF Eastern Sector President Peter Rabito "...the balls used this time around just didn't measure up."

Players complained that they wouldn't roll straight, arguing that they were improperly weighted. One player described the balls as "lopsided" claiming that one almost made a "U-Turn" in mid roll.

After complaints from players in most of the boroughs, tourney directors opted to replace the Sportscraft balls with Italian-made Perfetta sets. This caused another uproar as the eliminated teams argued that "We had to play with those balls, the other teams should too."

Apparently, some of the better teams got eliminated early. "Queens wins a lot" said Rabito. But they were sent packing early, purportedly due to the performance of the balls more than to the performance of the players.

To be fair, even the finest Italian-made balls can suffer from quality control. This was apparently a problem a year or two ago with many, if not all the Italian bocce manufacturers as they evidently purchase the high grade plastics from the same vendor.

We don't know how many NYC complaints were "sour grapes" due to poor play and how many were legitimate beefs with the equipment. After all, legendary LSU baseball coach Skip Bertman used to say "Baseball isn't America's game. Transfer of blame is America's real game."

Still, Rabito reports that one ball was hit hard and actually split in two. Upon examination of the two shattered pieces, it was clear via cross section that the material coating the insides of the ball was not uniform in thickness.

Top American players tell me that many bocce balls sold in department and sporting goods stores are made in China and not manufactured to the rigorous standards of Italian companies like Perfetta and Super Martel.

Can any readers, ball manufacturers, retailers, participants in the NYC championships weigh in with comments? Please REPLY.}


Henry Senatore writes...

"I enjoy my newsletters and my Joy of Bocce book. I have two questions or requests for advice:

1. In golf I think you can get insurance to cover the expense of a prize (e.g., automobile) for getting a 'Hole-In-One' during a fund-raising tournament. Is there anything similar in bocce? That is, do you know if an award could be feasible via insurance for scoring four points or scoring a shut-out match or something with similar bocce difficulty during a tournament?

2. Any advice on how to get a city, county or township to install bocce courts through a grant rather than have an organization (e.g., Sons of Italy) fund the construction?"

{I remember discussing this "insurance to cover prizes" with Bob Valvano. I think he has done this in his celebrity bocce and/or golf fund-raisers for the V Foundation. You can reach him at his bocce facility - Gotcha Bocce in Louisville, KY - email =

Your second question is something many of us are wrestling with all the time. I'm still trying to get courts in the public domain constructed in my own home town. Sometimes politicians promise to help, then nothing seems to get done.

We try to sell "the powers that be" on the low cost, low maintenance aspect compared to the value derived from so many people getting recreational enjoyment from the project.

Let me know if you get other ideas. Maybe some savvy readers will weigh in on how to get the job done.}


Teena Marie from Campo di Bocce responds to the NY Times controversy about the word "Bocce"...

"I found that NY Times snippet interesting as my Nona has jokingly scolded me on my pronunciation of the word, 'bocce.' It seems, according to my Nona, that Michael P. San Filippo is correct in his assertions. There is a local restaurant nearby that often gets mistaken for the club here because it is named 'Baci.' So as not to confuse non-Italian speakers or potentially offend those that pronounce bocce as BAH-che, I offer both versions in my lessons and when a guest has one of those get-you-hooked-on-bocce shots that kisses the pallino, I applaud and tell them either way, it's BAH-che. A kiss and a game.

And as you noted, a retraction in the Times seems silly and excessive. Even my Nona could agree to that!

Take care & keep up the good work."


{I notice in the flier for the Big Ben Tourney coming up in November (see Tournament Update below) that the format is two-person teams, three balls each. I have never heard of this format before. Is this common in certain areas of the country? I usually hear of two-player teams rolling two balls each, not three. Can any reader REPLY?}


A couple of unusual rule clarifications...

This past weekend I helped run a 12-team bocce tourney for the Haverhill (Mass.) Downtown Association with the finals coinciding with the city's Italian Festival.

One player had an unusual style. He rolled the pallino and, before it came to rest, sent his first bocce ball on its way to the target. I had seen this in backyard play, but never before in tournament action. In an act of what we call "preventive officiating" I took the guy aside and offered..."You know, if your ball hits the pallino before it (the target ball) stops, we're gonna have a problem." This advice worked, as the gentleman stopped setting two balls in motion at once.

Granted, this is not a common occurrence, but it got me thinking about how to enforce the rule.

First off, a good player watches the pallino until it stops to see if it falls in one direction or the other. Since a subsequent roll is likely to do the same thing, s/he's reading the terrain.

But, what would we do if the two balls actually struck one another while both were in motion. I asked bocce veteran Mike Grasser who indicated that this was illegal in international rules. He went on to say that in all his open rules events he adds the caveat that "In the event that something occurs that is not covered in these tourney rules, we will defer to international regulations."

Mike knew that the above was illegal and he knew that the referee should prevent it, but he didn't know what the ruling was if it happened in spite of the referee's efforts. I'm sure he's never seen it happen in international play. Those players are too smart for that.

I'm guessing that hitting the pallino while it is still in motion would result in that bocce ball being declared dead and the player would have to roll the pallino again to start the frame over. His team would now have only three balls to play instead of four. Does anyone know if this is the correct ruling in international play?

A second interesting situation... We recently built a beautiful backyard court in Andover, Massachusetts. It has a white vinyl pergola over each end (photos to follow in an up-coming issue).

In recent matches at the new venue we've had bocce balls smacked so hard that they bounce up and hit one of the pergola posts before caroming back into the court. The question is - should this ball be live or dead?

In international play, balls that hit above the court side boards are ruled dead and displaced balls are returned to their previous positions. Of course, you can make any "house rules" you like for your own court. I'll play by your rules when I come to your place. You play by mine when you visit my court. What's your opinion on balls bouncing off structures like pergolas and caroming back into play? Live or dead?}


Don't forget this charity tourney in Kentucky

Bob Valvano writes...

"We are holding the 4th annual V BOCCE EVENT, a celebrity bocce tournament for the V Foundation. It will be at Jim Patterson Stadium, home of the University of Louisville Baseball team, a gorgeous venue. Teams play 4 games with a different celebrity each game, and are given a great lunch by Carrabas, a wonderful gift bag, and there are champions crowned in 4 flights, as well as individual celebrity champs. The night before is the V BOCCE BALL, a wonderful evening of food and fun along with a great silent and live auction.

Email me at"


Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament

Please consider helping with this great cause. Here's a letter from Sandro Martignetti that says it all...

"Please join us for our third annual charity bocce tournament. Proceeds from this year's event will be donated to Alzheimer's Research at the Geriatric Psychiatry Program of McLean Hospital, where our cherished mother / grandmother / mother-in-law and wife Elena is being treated for Alzheimer's Disease. Last year we raised over $34,000 for the Joey Fund. This year, with your generous support, we know that we can surpass that amount for this very personal and worthy cause.

If you are interested in either playing, making a donation, sponsoring the event or just joining us for lunch, I have attached a registration form. Please complete the form and return it soon to the address noted. You can also sign up online by visiting . Please note that registering for Tournament play is on a first come, first serve basis as there are only 64 spots available.

If you've never played bocce before and would like to play, don't worry. Mario Pagnoni, our honorary chairman, is the author of The Joy of Bocce and he will provide a demonstration prior to the start of the Tournament. I'm sure that after just a few minutes of playing, you'll catch the bocce bug.

Besides the bocce action, we have raffle prizes, activities for the kids and a closest to the pallino contest. Lunch will be an authentic and delicious Italian buffet prepared by Sabatino's of Boston's North End. The top three teams receive medals and the winning team will have their name inscribed on the Martignetti Cup.

So please SAVE the DATE -- Sunday, October 7. Join us for a fun filled and exciting day of bocce and family as we support Alzheimer’s Research at McLean Hospital.

Thank you for your support!

P.S. We are privileged that Dr. Jim Ellison, Clinical Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program at McLean Hospital, will also be joining us. He will make a brief presentation on Alzheimer's Disease and I'm sure that he'll be able to answer any questions you may have."

What others say about The Joy of Bocce...

Photos of the week
This week's photos from old bocce friend George Danner of Griffin, Georgia are held over from last week.

"I just wanted to send you pictures of the Doc Holliday Tournament wall at the "Doc Holliday Museum, located at 1522 Lucky Street, Griffin, Georgia.

First picture is me standing near the plaque and pictures of the champions.

Bill Dunn, distant cousin of John H. "Doc" Holliday set up this area in his museum for the purpose of introducing bocce to all the people who visit the museum. And you would be surprised how much interest the display has gotten over the last month. I started the Doc Holliday Bocce Tournament in 2004 and we roll every year in October. I try and set it up as close to the date of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral which took place on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, AZ.

The annual Griffin v Peachtree City Bocce Cup will be played September 22, 2007. PTC has won 3 and Griffin 2. This tournament is played every two years.

If you can recover any article you wrote on the first 3 Doc Holliday tournaments, please send them to me, Bill wants to frame them and put up on the wall."

{Back issues =

I've added these new photos to the Bocce Tidbits section on the Doc Holliday tourney that was previously posted.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week

Just in time for fall - if you have problems with leaves on your outdoor court, this might just be the answer. I've experimented with it for a while and it passed the test.

From the marketing materials...

"This unique combination tool came all the way from Australia to help pick up and remove those troublesome leaves, pine needles, stones and other debris found on your court. The PVC tines literally lift the debris and flip it on top of the unit so it can be carried off the court.

Grooms the court surface like a drag brush. This dual-purpose tool will save you hours of tedious clean up of your court. Available in 4' and 8' widths."

I found the 8' width to be too cumbersome for bocce courts...much better suited for tennis courts. If you turn the product on one side the tines pick up debris. If you flip it over on its other side it grooms the court like a dragger on softball and baseball fields.

Suggested retail = $189.95. Click below to order...

Non bocce product of the week
{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}

Shop at

Tournament update
{chronological order}

Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.


Please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


October 5th - 7th, 2007. Michigan - Orion. 7th Annual International Battaglia Bocce Invitational. Don't miss the excitement - 1:00 p.m. Sunday October 7 = final showdown of best bocce players battle it out for over $35,000 in prize money. Contact 248-371-9987.


October 6, 2007 – California - Sutter Creek - Italian Benevolent Society. OPEN, 4 players including at least 1 woman player per team. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209- 296-6151.


October 7, 2007 - New Hampshire - Derry. Third Annual
Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament. The SportsZone, 7 A Street. Proceeds benefit McLean Hospital Geriatric Psychiatry Program for Alzheimer’s Research. Contact Sandro Martignetti @ 781-983-1472 or visit


October 7, 2007 – California - South San Francisco. Italian American Citizen’s Club. VOLO, 2 players. Contact Alessandro Bettucchi @ 650-697-7702.


October 8, 2007 - Kentucky - Louisville. 4th annual V BOCCE EVENT (a celebrity bocce tournament for the V Foundation). Teams play 4 games with a different celebrity each game. The night before is the V BOCCE BALL, an evening of food and fun along with silent and live auctions. Each three man team entry fee is $1000 & proceeds go directly to cancer research, through the V Foundation. ( Email: Bob Valvano @


October 11 – 13, 2007 – Nevada - Crystal Bay, Lake Tahoe. Biltmore Hotel and Casino. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Biltmore Casino @ 1-800-245-8667.


October 20-21, 2007 - Arizona - Phoenix. 2nd Annual Arizona International Open Bocce Tournament. 4-player teams - >$4500 in prize money to top ten finishers. Entry fee $150 per person. Contact tourney directors PASQUALE D’ALIESIO (602-569-9149) or VINCENZO “VINCE” D’ALIESIO (480-220-4629) or


October 27, 2007 – California - San Francisco. Aquatic Park Bocce Club. VOLO, 1 man player and 1 woman player. Contact Marco Cuneo @ 415713-5939.


November 2, 2007 - California - Santa Paula. John Ratzenberger's Bocce In The Orchard celebrity tourney fund-raiser benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley and The Education for Children with Diabetes Foundation. View for more info.


November 3, 2007 – California - Sacramento. East Portal Bocce Club. OPEN, 4 players. Contact Vernon Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


November 17, 2007 - California - Los gatos. The BIG BEN 2 person Punto Raffa Volo tournament. Open to the first 24 Teams. Cost: $150 per team ($75 per player). USBF card required. Minimum $1000 first place guaranteed. Format: Round Robin, 8 divisions of 3 teams, 16 of the 24 teams will go to the playoffs. Contact:


December 1, 2007 – California - Stockton. Italian Athletic Club. OPEN, 4 players with at least 2 women players per team. Contact Ron Jacobs @ 209-957-1223.


December 1-3. Florida - Cape Coral. Florida Senior Games State Championships. The women will compete on Dec. 1st & the men on Dec. 2nd. Dec 3rd will be reserved for any games not completed. Four players to a team. For more info, contact Rudy Diaz @ 239-542-8877 or email

Joy of bocce t-shirts, mugs, buttons, magnets, etc.

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Check out the first-rate equipment we offer. The finest measuring devices for bocce (made in UK by Prohawk for lawn bowling, petanque, and bocce) - the finest bocce balls in the world (made in Italy by Perfetta) and the number one selling instructional book on bocce in America - Check them out.
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