The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 42 - December 21, 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 #42 - December 21, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello bocce friends,

Happy Holiday season to all. I hope all your bocce dreams come true.

I've been busy working on creating some helpful bocce videos. Check them out here: .

Also, if you need a bocce gift for someone this holiday season, I can ship most items the same day the order comes in. Visit . If this is late getting to you...better late than never.

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

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Some Florida bocce venues...

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

********** REMINDER **********

The USBF web site ( has a new look. Click the logo to the right to check it out. You can even sign up or renew your membership on-line as past USBF president John Ross told me he has already done. The USBF's Peter Rabito took the lead on the website revamping and it looks like he did a great job.



In our Tuesday night men’s bocce leagues at the Sons of Italy in Lawrence, Massachusetts we play on two 64’ by 10’ courts. To include as many players as possible, we place six men on a team and station three teammates at each end who roll two balls each. When we are shorthanded we allow alternates to fill in, but in the playoffs we only allow players who are on the teams’ rosters to compete.

Initially, we allowed alternates in the playoffs, but one year one of the alternates played much better than our regular players and carried the last place team to the championship. As you might imagine, this was cause for much consternation among the guys who were in first place all year long, but got ambushed in the playoffs.

The following year the coaches decided not to allow alternates in the playoffs. We had heard that in some leagues that play triples (three players per team), if you are shorthanded, e.g. two players show instead of three, you forfeit the two balls that the third player would have rolled. Our coaches voted to institute this rule.

I know that leagues that “burn” balls in this manner are highly competitive in nature, but ours is competitive, but not overly so. This Fall, the team that dominated the regular season was shorthanded in the playoffs, had to forfeit the shots of the missing player, and was eliminated in the first round.

Now, we have decided that, in future playoff games, the captain of the opposing team will select one player on the shorthanded team to act as the “walker.” This person will play both ends of the court and no bocce will be burned. If the series goes two or three games, a different walker will be chosen for each game and the captain of the shorthanded team may never act as the walker.

I have heard of other scenarios for penalizing shorthanded players, like burning one ball instead of two. Do any readers know of other sensible ways to penalize a shorthanded team without making the penalty so severe that the shorthanded team has little chance of being competitive? Please REPLY.

Finally, I’d like some feedback on the following scenario. It was my team that was shorthanded this Fall in the playoffs. This was rather ironic, because we had almost perfect attendance all season long. I was forced to decide how to position the five players on my team (three would play from one end and two would roll from the other, but which players should go where?). I had never faced this situation before, didn’t have much time to think, and decided to play on the end with two players. This left two good pointers on the other end with a third, decent all-around player. In retrospect, I think I made a mistake. We got “spanked” pretty good for two reasons. The other team played well and the two shots that we were penalized severely hurt us. But here’s where I think I made a bad judgment. I’m the hitter, the shooter, on the team. On these short courts I hit pretty consistently, often knocking away close points and sometimes shooting the pallino to the end to pick up multiple points. By placing myself on the end with four bocce instead of six, I effectively took myself out of the hitting game. For example, their player would roll the pallino and make a decent point. My teammate would roll two balls and fail to beat the point. If I opted to hit and happened to miss, we would have only one ball left to cover up, while the opponents would have five balls left. So, most of the time I decided to point. My strong suit, hitting, was negated.

So, I think that a better placement would have been to place the two best pointers on the four-ball end and place myself with the other two players on the six-ball end where I might be able to employ my strength at shooting.

What-y-ya-think? Please REPLY.


Alvaro Bettucchi sends this...

"Just reading about the size of the balls article. Gene Semenza and I have just submitted to the USBF Western Sector and its members a final set of rules for the Open game which includes the size of the balls. The USBF site has rules for the Open game which are very simple for those individuals that are beginners or wish to play 'pick-up' games. Those are needed for that group of individuals. But, for those of us that are playing in competitive USBF sanctioned tournaments, we need a complete set of rules that take in almost every situation that might occur. This is done with every sporting federation in the world, why not for bocce? Look at soccer, the true world sport, no matter where you are throughout the world, the rules are the same. I hope the Western Sector, in January, will bite the bullet and present the rules to the National Federation. It’s time Open Bocce is properly played throughout these United States (notice the word United), with 'United' rules."

{We've been dancing around this topic for some time. I know that the USBF is revising the Open rules and I hope to reprint the final version in my new book which I am now hoping to launch in the spring of 2010.}


Kim sends an interesting email...

"I was trying to get some information on bocce and was reading your site. I have a question for you. Your page on bocce balls is great. It explains the differences between balls, the sizes and what they are made of. I just don't understand why you have the links to BocceBallSets on your pages. They carry cheap crap. It sounds to me like you are more interested in making a commission from them than really promoting the Joy of Bocce. Especially since the orange banners draw the eye away from anything that you have written. I am hoping for a bocce set for Christmas and was hoping to use the information on your page to help direct my family to good sets. But I certainly don't want a cheap set that isn't even the proper size or weight.

Can you explain the rationale behind your promotion of"

{My first reaction is to say "Hey Kim, I don't need any rationale for what I put on my site. Put up your own site and post whatever you want. And excuse me if I'm interested in making a commission." On the other hand, she makes a valid point that there's a lot of "cheap crap" for sale there - some of it is overpriced.

The thing is, in this country, the market for bocce balls is pretty much the "cheap crap." Players who take the game seriously want top quality bocce that are 107 mm and 920 g. They generally want Perfetta, Martel, or one of the other imported Italian sets. But those who only play occasional games on the lawn are more likely to purchase an inexpensive set with 8 bocce balls, a carry bag, and a pallino. They are not likely to visit and fork over $200 to $300 for a set of 4 Martel bocce (not including bag or pallino). If they were smart, they'd visit and spend $129.95 for a full set of Perfetta.

Anyway, there is pretty good information on that page of my site, and if people read it and still want to purchase a cheap set, that's up to them.

Hayneedle (formerly Netshops) is actually a pretty good company. What they do is find out what people are buying, make deals with manufacturers to resell those products, and create a web site to hawk them. They are a fast growing Internet company. Bocce sales were pretty brisk when they started, but have tailed off considerably. I send a lot of traffic from my web site to other sites, but by far, the most successful conversion rates are with Perfetta products at I think that is because Playaboule has quality products and I have a pretty bocce-sophisticated readership.

I've been thinking of taking down Hayneedle's BocceBallSets links - not because they sell 'cheap crap', but because they don't convert. The last quarter of 2009 saw me create more than 40,000 impression on line which generated one sale of $67. During the same time period I sent enough traffic to Playaboule to generate a couple thousand dollars in sales.

Hayneedle does sell quite a few of my books, though (my book is nestled in between the 'cheap crap'). Early on, when Hayneedle was called Netshops, I spent a lot of time on the phone with them trying to get them to clean up some of the claims they made about certain bocce balls being endorsed by the USBF, etc. It got to be too much work for me as I'm running around in so many different directions and have all I can do most weeks just to get an ezine out. Same goes for my web site. I have so many changes that I want to make, but they're all on my to-do list. I'll get to them once I get the new edition of my book to press.

A final point that should be made is that there are quite a few EPCO bocce sets for sale at EPCO bocce are American made sets and certainly don't fit under the heading 'cheap crap'. And the company is moving toward focusing on 107 mm and 920 g sets.}


Elizabeth Wong Fontana tells us her Ruby Raffa Classic has been moved from February 28th to March 6th. Contact Elizabeth at .




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: . or REGISTER/RENEW ON LINE AT HTTP://WWW.BOCCE.COM}



Click the link below to learn more...

Perfetta is back in stock at Playaboule!

Photos of the week
This week's photos were the photos of the week back in March of 2003. They are part of my ongoing attempt to permanently re-post all the photos from years gone by. These pictures are listed under Bocce Venues on the Joy of Bocce website.

Submitted by Michael Grasser, they show off the courts at the St. Francis Assisi Church/High School complex in Tucson, Arizona. The two courts are 16' by 70' with a playing surface of compacted fine gravel. They feature 45 degree angle boards in the corners.

{Please follow Mike's lead and send photos of bocce in your neck of the woods.}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Holiday gift ideas for the bocce lover in your life...

********** BETTER LATE THAN NEVER **********

Will ship same day. I've listed some items in order of price, so you can decide how much you want to spend and then maybe pick an item.

Two things I rarely post are bocce ball bags with the Joy of Bocce embroidered logo and chamois (bocce towels) also with the embroidered logo.

Of course, I think an autographed copy of The Joy of Bocce would be a great gift. Make sure to think up a really cool inscription for me to include.

Click the link below to view the items...

Click for a holiday bocce shopping experience...

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 today!

Tournament update
{chronological order}


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

SEND INFO - WE'LL POST - NO CHARGE - SEND ME A PDF (File for me to post).

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.


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.


January 30, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. RAFFA 3 PLAYERS. Contact Mike Crocce @ 209-466-0541.


February 20, 2010 - California - Campo di Bocce of Los Gatos. OPEN - 2 MEN 2 WOMEN. Contact Ben Musolf @ 408-857-0074.


February 27, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. Maureen Albanese Valentines Tournament. OPEN - 2 MEN 2 WOMEN. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


March 6, 2010 - California - Stockton - Elkhorn. RAFFA 3 PLAYERS MIXED. Contact Elizabeth Wong @ 209-688-0595.


March 27, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS, 2 Men & 1 Woman. Contact Romano Lotti @209-951-8256.


April 3, 2010 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. OPEN 4 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


April 10, 2010 - California - Campo di Bocce of Los Gatos - OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408- 379-9409.


April 10, 2010. California - IAC Womens Aux. OPEN 4 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Shirley Croce @ 209-466-0541.


April 17, 2010 - California - IACC South City. OPEN - 3 PLAYERS. Contact Aldo Peruzzi @ 650-583-8904.


May 1, 2010 - California - San Mateo PIASC. RAFFA 3 MEN PLAYERS. Contact Adriano Undorte at 650-591-3318.


May 1, 2010 - California - San Mateo PIASC. OPEN 4 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


May 8, 2010 - California - Stockton Waterloo. OPEN 4 PLAYERS. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


May 15, 2010 - California - Fairfield. OPEN, 4 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Wayne Little @ 707-864-1023.


May 15, 2010 - California - Aquatic Park. VOLO, 3 PLAYERS. Contact Benji Tosi @ 415-238-2995.


May 22, 2010 - California - Sacramento. East Portal. RAFFA, 3 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


May 29, 2010 - California - Carmel Valley. OPEN, 4 PLAYERS. Contact Giovanni Napoli @ 831-521-5092.


June 4 - 6, 2010. Pennsylvania - New Castle. 1st Annual 4 Man Bocce Tournament - Cascade Park Bocce Facilities. $4000 1st. Place. Contact Mitchie @ 724-333-6385. More Info at


June 5, 2010 - California - IACC South City. RAFFA, 2 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Ginger Hanley @ 650-271-6009.


June 6, 2010 - California - IBS Sutter Creek. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. At Least 1 Woman. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


June 12, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


June 19, 2010 - California - IACC South City. OPEN 4 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Gene Semenza @ 650-872-0192.


June 21 -23, 2010. Missouri - St. Louis IABC. USBF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP - OPEN - contact Robert Della Croce @ 314-351-9895.


June 24 -26, 2010 - Missouri - St. Louis IABC. USBF NATIONAL PRV CHAMPIONSHIP. Contact Robert Della Croce @ 314-351-9895.


July 10, 2010. California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 2 MEN PLAYERS. Contact Diane Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.

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.
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