The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 36 - October 26, 2009 
•   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 8, Issue #36 - October 26, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi bocce gang,

I've been pouring over hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos stored on my computer's hard drive trying to pick the best ones for the new book edition. This has turned out to be a daunting task because of the enormity of the job and because, over the years, I was not so good at creating logically named file folders for photo storage.

When I finally finish sifting through the entire hard drive and cataloging the results, I'll post a list of photos needed since a number of readers have also offered to search their photo archives for appropriate pictures. Stay tuned.

I've decided to play in next month's Pallino D'Oro at Michigan's Palazzo di Bocce, and so far I haven't been able to convince any of my bocce posse to come along. (My friend Jose Bello is trying to rearrange his schedule to attend). If I end up traveling alone, I'm thinking of driving the 700 miles rather than flying in for the singles competition. Anybody on my route from Massachusetts to Michigan want to hitch a ride and share the driving? Please REPLY.

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Stay close and always be up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

John Anderson's court (Salinas, CA)...

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

Tom McNutt, "The Boccemon" sends this interesting tidbit...

The other day I was contacted by a woman from our community who had a set of bocce balls that apparently had a great story and I convinced her to bring them by our Wednesday night bocce last week. I have attached a couple photos of these balls for people to see as well as her email explaining a few things.

{Click the photo right for a better view.}

Here's the story in her words:

"The balls are made from the wood of the Lignum Vitae tree (now an endangered species), a short tree native to the Caribbean and northern South America. Cricket and bocce balls were often made from this wood due to its density, hardness, water resistance and self-lubricating qualities. The set was passed down to my late husband from his grandfather, Eugenio Galiano, who brought them with him from Palermo, Italy in 1903. He said the set was given to him by his father. That makes it somewhere between 110 and 150 years old.

Eugenio immigrated into Canada from Italy. He worked his way west through Canada. For a time, he worked as a cook at the Lake Louise Lodge in the Canadian Rockies. He also tried his hand at panning gold. In addition, he was quite the bocce hustler, according to family legend. He came south to Seattle and settled in the Kent/Tukwilla area. He married his wife, Lena, and continued the traditions of his native country. He was well known in the Italian community there. He ran the beer concession at Longacres Race Track for many years. There was a steady demand for his ‘grappa.’ And he played bocce weekly with his ‘paesani’, often taking my husband, Bruce, with him to count points. They played on grass at the community park. He went into a nursing home in the mid-1980s. He gave the bocce set to my husband who was the eldest grandson. They were his most prized possession. Nobody knows how long Grampa kept and carried his balls in the wooden box, but that's how everybody remembered them.

Eugenio died in Kent in 1987 at age 98. That's what I have been told. My husband died unexpectedly in January, 2007. There is nowhere else for the balls to go in the Galiano line around here. So I have become the caretaker...of the history, the memories of Bruce and Eugenio, and the bittersweet echoes of perfect summer afternoons in the cool, freshly mown grass of all the lawns where these balls were hefted, perfectly balanced and rolled with studied precision, their mellow clink producing the music of bocce."

Says McNutt "She is looking for suggestions on the value they might have to a collector. Any advice for her?"

{My guess is that this set has a more sentimental value than a monetary one. I have a similar set that I purchased rather inexpensively on eBay and there are some photos posted here of a set owned by Hawaii's Dr. Joe DeFrank: . (To view, you'll need to scroll down past all the nailed boules). In addition, here is another mystery set - again, you'll have to scroll down to the bottom: .}


Just in case you missed last week's posted link from D'Vicenizano Grimaldi (of photos from this year's World Series of Bocce)...


From Napa Sonoma Magazine

Luxury Living in California Wine Country

The Bocce Boom
Toss 'em forward while you toss it back
By Bonnie Wach

"The game of darts has Guinness, horse racing has bourbon, and here in Northern California, white wine accompanies everything from croquet to baseball. But ask any Wine Country sports fan what goes best with red, and you're likely to get a quick, certain answer: bocce."

Read the entire article here:


An interesting query...

"Have u ever seen a bocce flag that one can hang in their yard on a pole? I have looked all over and they have every sport but bocce! Thanks. Cheryl"

{I'm not sure what kind of flag people might want over their bocce courts, but I've seen Italian flags, American flags, and even flags representing family coats of arms. I did a little research and found and online outfit that will create custom-made flags. I had them create a sample image (2' by 3' flag) with the Joy of Bocce logo.

Take a peek at the link below and let me know if you might be interested. If there is enough interest, I'll work a deal to purchase them in quantity and offer them at the best price I can.


Size:: 60cm x 90cm (2' x 3')
Colors: 5
Orientation: Landscape
Prints: Single Side Reverse 1 Layer
Material:: 100D polyester

View the 2' by 3' sample here:

REPLY to let me know that you MIGHT, if the price is right, want one.}


Vermont bocce friend Zander Ponzo keeps us posted on the bocce scene in his state...

"I played at Rutland's Italian American Club. They have three outdoor courts: about 60x17, Har-Tru, angle boards, and all rails live at all times. They usually play seven to a side, with each player having one ball. At the end of a frame there are 14 balls on the court: various sizes and weights are used. Interesting.

{A couple things of interest here. I've never seen seven to a team with players rolling just one ball each. I wonder how crowded things get with fourteen balls in play.

Fourteen players at each end might also explain why the courts are so wide. When I hear of three courts at 17' wide each I immediately think things like..."Wow, they could have built 4 courts at 13' each in the same area." Because I like to run events, I always try to opt for the greatest number of courts in any given space.}

view photo here:


If you missed the photos from the 2009 Cleveland Challenge Cup of Bocce, Paul DiCicco sent this link."


Mike Grasser's Pallino D'Oro... {I've decided to attend. If you are nearby, drop in and say hello. If you promised photos, please bring them.}

Location: Palazzo Di Bocce, Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S.A.

Dates: United States Pallino D’Oro
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 – 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Saturday, Nov. 22, 2009 – 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

North American Pallino D’Oro
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009 - 1:00-5:00 PM
Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009 – 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Entry Fees: United States Pallino D’Oro - $100,
North American Pallino D’Oro - $75

Prizes: United States Pallino D’Oro – 1st $1,250, 2nd $750, 3rd $500, 4th $250

North American Pallino D’Oro 1st $1,000, 2nd $600, 3rd &400, 4th $200

Rules: Singles Play, Punto, Raffa, Volo. International Rules.

Format: United States Pallino D’Oro will be round robin play. North American Pallino D’Oro will be single elimination group play. Top 16 U.S. and top 16 Canadian players from U.S. Pallino D’Oro will qualify for play in N.A. Pallino D’Oro.

Hotel: The Crowne Plaza, 1500 North Opdyke Rd., Auburn Hills. MI. Call 248-373-4500 and ask for Anne Marie.

Contact: Michael B. Grasser, Owner Da Vinci Bocce LLC
248-505-4744 or


Bob Johnson has a question...

"I enjoy your web site and all of the information that you have about bocce courts. What kind of surface would you recommend for me to use on top of a cement patio? I would like to 'roll it up' when not in use. Would I be able to lightly toss, not just roll the balls, on this court?"

{I guess any indoor/outdoor carpet would work. You might need some kind of padding first to absorb some of the bounce so you could lightly toss the bocce balls. Do any readers have experience with this type of set-up? If so, please REPLY.}


Sean Krezenski asks...

"I have a question that has been nagging at me for several years. As you can probably tell from my earlier responses, I am a big believer in sticking to the rules. My OCD goes into overdrive whenever I see a rule completely disregarded. This being said here is my question:

On a regulation court (international size) what is the official rule regarding when the ball is released in relation to the B-line when shooting Raffa? I was taught that when shooting Raffa the ball must be released before you cross the B-Line. Later, I was told that, as in pointing, your foot could be on the B-Line at the time of release, but not over. It was later explained that if you release the ball before your front foot touches the ground beyond the B-Line and your back foot remained behind the B-Line, the shot would be valid. Does anyone know the proper interpretation of this rule?

I realize that not all courts have the luxury of being within international regulations and some venues with shorter courts have adopted 'house' rules in regard to the treatment of the B-line, but I would love to hear not only the proper rule, but whether people generally enforce the rule."

{Yes, the ball has to be out of your hand before you cross the B line. I chatted with Pallino D'Oro organizer Mike Grasser about this recently and he says BOTH feet have to be in legal position for the raffa attempt to be valid. He noted that a foot might be in the air over the B line, but not on the ground and this would be valid.

The problem with enforcing this as a referee is that it is a very difficult call. It brings to mind things like leaving early on a tag up in baseball. The baserunner can leave his base on a fly ball when the ball is first touched by the fielder. If you leave early, the other team can appeal to the umpire. Umpires are reluctant to call you out unless they are CERTAIN that you left before the ball was first touched by the fielder. If it was in the "gray area", they are likely to call SAFE on the appeal. Some plays are so close you'd need stop action film to be sure of getting the call right. The general rule is to not guess a player out. You have to see an out before you call an out. You'd have to be sure you saw the illegal raffa attempt before you made the call.

Having said all of this, did you see in game 4 of the Yankees/Angels series that Nick Swisher was called out on appeal for leaving early on a fly ball? Replay seemed to show that he was safe. Check that and other tough umpire calls from the American League Championship Series game here:;_ylt=At67IxFqeWHDZmXv68.ldNYRvLYF?urn=mlb,197210 .}


Paul E Cunningham - President, Bocce-at-Sea Club - sends this...

"Perhaps you could tell the players in your tournament about the event that my club is promoting. This will be a lot of fun for those who can take advantage of it."



We should all be card carrying members. Every club should be affiliated. For the sport to gain the attention it needs we need to boast of many thousands of members. Download a USBF Membership Application here: . }



Playaboule's Perfetta Bocce Sets were backordered and the shipment has arrived from Italy and ready to ship. Click the link below to learn more...

Perfetta is back in stock at Playaboule!

Photos of the week
Looks like our new bocce friend, Eric McFerran, who we met in Vermont recently is back in New Jersey. He sends a report on a bocce fundraiser...

"The perfect warm evening continued for the grand finale at the Madison, NJ covered court last night.

John and Eric participated in the Italian food fest (supplied by Rocce's restaurant) and an excellent sampling of wines.

Over 60 people sat down at the Forum Club (adjacent to the Bocce court) dining and chatting. Various speeches were made and the YMCA was thrilled with the many thousands of dollars contributed at the tournament by sponsors and players. The funds go towards sponsoring children to YMCA events that do not have sufficient family resources to pay themselves.

Forum club members were on the winning team with one of the refs in their team playing very aggressively with fast high pitches scattering the balls in all directions.

Again friendly overtures were made for the Summit Rollers to use the Madison court and to drop by for game participation Sunday afternoons."

{Check out a couple photos submitted by Eric by clicking the photo above or the link below.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Bocce Court Maintenance Tools

I’ve seen all kinds of home-made court maintenance brushes and scrapers. Two things have always struck me about them. 1 – they look like they are home-made and 2 – they tend to be HEAVY.

7' Drag Brush

Manufactured by Lee Tennis (makers of the Har-Tru surface material), this court maintenance tool created for tennis courts works exceptionally well for bocce courts. The 7-foot drag brush is light-weight and, even if you have a 13- or 14-foot wide court, you can smooth it over with just two passes. This is quick enough to do between games without keeping players waiting very long.

Bristles are 4 ˝ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $169.95 plus shipping.


This strangely named 30” wide device is actually two implements in one. It is an all-aluminum combination tool for scarifying, leveling, and removing loose court material.

Strong and sturdy, the tool is light enough to handle with ease and is excellent for spreading new material during top-dressing. The concave shape of the 30” wide blade allows the tool to “float” along the surface without digging in. Use the serrated edge to scrape material from high spots, then flip the tool over to rake and smooth that spot and drag the loose material to fill in a lower point. Retails for $63.95 plus shipping.

Besides a heavy roller, the lute/scarifier and 7-foot drag brush should be all the maintenance tools a bocce court owner needs.

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll down to bottom of page.

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}

Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!


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.


November 12-14, 2009. Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Casino. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Dana Shores @ 800-648-6992.


November 14 - 15, 2009. Nevada - Las Vegas International Open. 4-player teams - double elimination. Contact Pasquale D'Aliesio @ 602-569-9149 or . More info:


November 20 - 22, 2009. Michigan - Palazzo di Bocce. USA Pallino D' Oro and the North American Pallino D'Oro. Contact Mike Grasser at 246-505-4744.

November 21, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. – RAFFA-2 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @


December 5, 2009 - California - Stockton. I. A. C. OPEN – 4 PLAYERS. At least two women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


January 23, 2010 - Arizona - Phoenix. Arizona American Italian Club (AAIC) is hosting an 8 team tournament. For information and/or registration forms call Frank McCune at 602-957-8720.

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

Merchandise still available at

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.
 Check out the merchandise