The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. IX, Issue 33 - October 25, 2010 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news and 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 9, Issue #33 - October 25, 2010
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2010
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Greetings bocce faithful,

This past weekend I attended my 45th high school reunion in Springfield, Massachusetts. I grew up there right near the Basketball Hall of Fame and I used to tell people "...and I have the jump shot to prove it." Nowadays I say "...and I have the set shot to prove it." At my age jumping is just too strenuous.

In a recent nostalgic mood I located my old class photos and got a kick from what my classmates had written. One of my basketball teammates wrote "I'll never forget all the times you gave up a shot and passed to me (I think it was once or twice)."

Back in the day, homerooms were by alphabetical order so I hoped to see a lot of the gang with last names beginning with the letter P. Alas! I was the only "P". Sadly, I found out that classmates Cliff and Boyce had passed away. Still, it was great seeing a lot of the old gang, even though I could recognize only a few. Classical High School is no longer in business. The building is now a beautiful, fabulously designed and decorated 111 unit condo complex. Some guy was actually living in my old homeroom!

The Classical High School Class of 1965 was a high powered crew at a high powered high school. The junior high guidance counselors tended to point the scholars and scholar athletes there. MDs and PhDs were everywhere in attendance. There were Watergate attorneys, West Point and Naval Academy grads, airline pilots, singers and musicians who performed at the Met, and a woman who practically runs the Smithsonian. It was a high achievers festival. And then there was me. There was déjà vu all over the place. I could almost hear Mrs. Cobb saying "Mr. Pagnoni, use your time wisely for study." I should have listened.

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

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Michigan's Palazzo di Bocce - 2005 photos...

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

Click the photo right to get a look at how they redesigned and redecorated my old high school, turning it into a condominium complex - not too shabby.


Frank Cervo sends news of his upcoming Rainbow Creek Tournament.

"It was a pleasure meeting you at the Wickliffe I-A Club during their annual bocce tournament. Our club is having the 27th annual tournament on November 13th & 14th and we would greatly appreciate if you could add it to the list of upcoming tournaments."




Date: November 13th & 14th

* 3 person teams
* double elimination
* entry fee: $150 per team
* entry deadline: November 10th
* games to 16 points
* IBA &/or in-house rules in force - no direct backboard contact
* prize money ALL GUARANTEED - total: $6550. 1st place $3500. Paying up to 8th place
* hotel: Monte Carlo Inns - 705 Appleton Cres. 905-761-7170. For discount mention bocce code: ONTA 10

Contact: Frank Cervo - 905-851-1522 / 416-434-6005


David Wuori tells us about a variation of play...

"Here's how I played with two other players. I became the permanent scheduled substitute for both of the other players. They each played three balls and I got to roll one ball of each color with this steadfast rule. I would throw the first red ball (regardless of which side played first) and I would roll the last green ball (regardless of which side played last). I thought it worked quite well. Of course you could agree upon some other form of rotation. Whatever the arrangement, it should be adhered to without favoritism. The result is that four red balls and four green balls are played as usual. There is no unusual gimmick in scoring. Three people get to play."

{Pretty interesting. In effect you get to play for both teams without being on either team. I might like to try this out and see how it works.

Another way to play with three is two against one. The one player gets to roll four balls against the opponents who roll two each. If you play three matches everyone gets a turn at playing four balls.

Dr. Cordano tells me that this is the way some teams practice to determine who will represent their country in certain events. If one player ends up on the winning team significantly more often than the other two, chances are he is the best player of the three.

Another way to engage three players is "cut-throat". Each player rolls three balls (you'll need three different color balls). First you decide who rolls first, second and third in the first frame by choosing up or flipping coins. After the first three balls, whoever is "away" rolls the next ball. After all balls are rolled, score 3 points for the closest, 2 for second closest, and 1 for third closest. One player can score all six points. Two or even all three players may score in the same frame. The player with the 3-point ball rolls the pallino in the next frame. Game goes to 21 points or even 30 or more.}


Special Edition News...

I'm attempting to get copies of The Joy of Bocce 3rd edition into as many bocce clubs, groups or organizations as possible as there is a definite time lag in getting them into the bookstores. Many people responded by email to the offer.

The idea is that groups can purchase at discount by the case (36 per case) and retail at the full price. This will I hope get some "Buzz" going about the book and the sport that might catch on with the bocce community at large.

I've worked hard to make this edition the one that will help this game grow - now starts the tough part - the marketing! Please help if you can. Call me at 978-686-8679 or email for more details.


Joy of Bocce Weekly now in html and text formats

For the last few years I have been launching the weekly ezine only in html form. The techies at Topica, the list managing outfit, tell me that this is one reason some ezines don't make it to their intended destination. So, I changed to sending it as "multi-part" which means you might get it as html or text depending on how you are signed up. If your newsletter is still coming in html you'll notice no difference, but if it arrives in text only form you'll know. We've had a lot fewer bounces the last two issues, so I guess it's working.

The techies at Topica tell me you can go to the bottom of your weekly ezine and click on Profile. There you can select html or text for your weekly newsletter format.


More from Peter Di Turi and Puget Sound Bocce...

"Yesterday, the 2011 Mr. Bocce and Ms. Bocce tournaments were played at the Tacoma (WA) Elks Lodge. A record-setting 21 men and 12 women participated in the single-day event, where an incredible 64 matches were played to 11 points each, lasting 9 1/2 hours!

The double-elimination tournaments featured players contesting as single players instead of the traditional 4-person or two-person teams seen at most of the bocce tournaments. That allowed the games to go much quicker and showcased lots of creativity normally not seen in team play!

Missing from this event were members of the Club Paesano team from Gresham, winners of two Puget Sound Bocce area tournaments this year, as they were already scheduled to play in a tournament in Sacramento this weekend.

In the Mr. Bocce competition, play sped through as Clement Zipp and Bob Sheffels, both of the Woodland Park BC, ran through the winners bracket. Clem defeated Bob H. in the pre-bye, then Greg Singleton of the Westside team, Tony Riconosciuto of the Tacoma Elks, and Dr. Robert Glaze of the Auburn Bocce Club. Bob beat Antonio of the Tacoma Elks in a pre-bye, then defeated Lance, Patrick Henry of Westside and Jack Elder of the Portland Bocce League. Bob then beat Clem in the match to take the winner's bracket.

In the loser's bracket, sparking play was turned in by Paul Gessner of Woodland Park and Chris Henry of Westside. Paul's route consisted of a pre-bye victory over Sal Cascone of the Auburn Bocce Club, a loss to Robert Glaze, victories over Antonio of Tacoma Elks, Steve, Patrick Henry of Westside and a rematch victory over Robert Glaze. Chris's path was a triumph over David, a loss to Robert, then triumphs over Brad Cotton of Pioneer Square, Tony Riconosciuto, and Jack Elder. However, he lost his match to Paul and took 4th place.

Paul then played Clem Zipp, who played a surprisingly sluggish game, going down 8-1 at one point, came back but couldn't overcome the deficit and the Mr. Bocce titlist had to settle for third place. It set up Paul and Bob for the championship match in the early evening. In the third frame, Paul took a trey and went up 4-1 before Bob came back to knot the game at 6 after 8 frames. But Paul pounded on the door in the next four frames with 1-1-1-2 combination to seal an 11-6 victory and a replay match for the Mr. Bocce title.

In the first of those final four frames, one of the strangest events in Puget Sound Bocce history occurred. It was discovered after the last ball was rolled that Paul had rolled 5 green bocce. The bocce had come from the adjacent court where the Ms. Bocce third-place game was being played and the ball was placed in the center storage as a result of a previous frame's dead ball. Apparently, the ball was inadvertently rolled by Paul, but nobody noticed which ball was the illegal ball thrown. After some discussion and knowledge that the closest ball did not come from the center, Paul was awarded one point instead of the two that was the actual end result.

In the replay game, the first frame had its own humor, as both players failed to get their first bocce over the center line 30 feet away on a 55-foot court! After 5 frames, Bob steadily built up a 4-1 advantage before Paul came back with a deuce. Bob dogged with singles the next two frames, and with cool long-ball play to the left side, nailed a 4-bagger to go up 10-3, one point from the title. But nothing ever goes easy in the bocce game, as Bob pushed all his bocce long after a great Paul first-shot. Paul made the next three rolls easy, nailing a counter-quattrobocce to cut the score to 10-7. Bob came though with a spock off his guard ball, scoring his last point with the pallina in the left corner and his red ball almost 10 feet away! The 11-7 game-ender gave Paul second place, and Bob his first-ever Mr. Bocce title!

The Ms. Bocce Tournament features spirited play and darn close games, with the winner's bracket featuring Bre Zitzka of Woodland Park and Kristy Anderson of Bellevue Vision/Auburn Bocce Club. Bre won her matches against Angela and Sandee, while Kristy had to beat Lisa (pre-bye),Tammy and Gail to meet Bre. They played a close game, which Bre took to gain the winner's bracket edge.

The loser's bracket featured the play of Jennifer Sheffels of Woodland Park BC. After her pre-bye loss to Angela, she then won her games against Tammy, Chris, Sandee and Gail to meet Kristy for the 3rd place match. In that game, the two players exchanged ones and twos until the last frame, when Kristy's single red point decided the match 11-10, putting Jen in third place and Kristy a rematch with Bre.

Kristy started out strong with a superb quattrobocce in frame one, and went up to 6-nil before Bre's trey in the fourth halved the difference. Kristy then hit a deuce before Bre took yet another trey and was only down 8-6. But dramatics took place as Kristy hit singles while Bre hit deuces and a game-ending trey, her third of the match, to barely squeak by Kristy 11-10. No replay needed here as Kristy was awarded second place and Bre took the Ms. Bocce 2011 title!

I've attached pics of the Mr. and Ms. Bocce finalists with tournament director Tony Riconsciuto. Tony and his super wife Fran and the Tacoma Elks did a great job in running the tournament and providing a great pasta, meatball and sausage lunch with coffee and wine. Worth the cost of the entry fee by itself!

The broadcast of live updates and the full coverage of the championship games on the Puget Sound Bocce channel was marred by six communication failures, which resulted in a max viewing of only 4 viewers and abrupt cut off of the recording of the championship game after only 29 minutes. Thus there is no recording of the games on Livestream. It is difficult to get and maintain a wireless transmission from the playing area, so it'll be research time for me this winter on how to avoid this from happening in future broadcasts."


Fred Wilburn writes...

"I have enjoyed reading your new edition of Joy of Bocce.

A while back I was looking for a 'scoreboard' for my court. After several searches on the Internet I found this company out of Chicago (Scoretronics) with a cool offering for a Bocce scoreboard. However, they are a bit pricey:

Check it out and maybe you will put it in your next newsletter 'products of the week' section for others to consider."


David Gilmore sends this...

"It was a pleasure to run into your site and to see all the Bocce venues around the country. I wanted to share a venue not yet featured on your photo page. The YMCA of Greater Boston operates a camp on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. There on the Y’s Sandy Island facility are three covered courts, built in large part by my father-in-law Roger Wall, a former Polaroid engineer from Lexington, MA (now living in Peabody). They are hard used by many weeks worth of campers every year and are dearly loved by them all.

Since I am a Pacific Northwest native and Roger’s daughter settled there with me, I also thought it might be worth mentioning that a local contractor called Boccemon ( ) in Bellingham, WA builds and provides materials for marvelous Bocce courts composed of a ground oyster shell compound. The materials properties make for exquisitely playable surfaces that groom easily and handle water exceptionally well."

{Photos to follow soon.}


Ben Musolf sends advance notice for the 2011 United States Bocce Championships.

I have also put together a Bocce Series call the 'Raffa Showdown Series." It will entail weekly tournaments either singles or doubles, single elimination style. I have also attached the entry forms for this event. If anybody ever asks how to promote Raffa, please feel free to recommend this."








The 2010 United States & North American
Pallino D’Oro Championships
Presented by Da Vinci Bocce L.L.C.

Location: Ciociaro Club
3745 N. Talbot Rd. R.R. #1, Oldcastle, Ontario N0R 1L0, Canada

Dates: United States Pallino D’Oro
Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 – 9:00 AM

North American Pallino D’Oro
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 – 9:00 AM

Entry Fees: United States Pallino D’Oro - $100 (U. S. Dollars)

North American Pallino D’Oro - $100 (U.S. Dollars)

Prizes: United States Pallino D’Oro
1st $1,200 2nd $800 3rd $600 4th $400 (U. S. Dollars)

North American Pallino D’Oro
1st $1,200 2nd $800 3rd $600 4th $400 (U. S. Dollars)

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

Format: United States Pallino D’Oro will be a double elimination tournament.

North American Pallino D’Oro will be single elimination group play.

Points: All games to 12 points. Final game in both tournaments will be 15 points.

Hotel: Ramada Inn, 2225 Division Road, Windsor, Ontario. Call (519) 969-7800 and mention “Pallino D’Oro Championship”

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

Note: Tournament will be closed after 32 players have registered via mail w/ check for entry fee(s).

Checks payable to Da Vinci Bocce LLC.
Send to Michael B. Grasser, 2276 Garland Boulevard, Sylvan Lake, MI 48320




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


DaVinci Bocce's Mike Grasser court photos...

Photos of the week
We ran yet another enjoyable corporate outing recently. The good folks from Nuveen Investments (Chicago) came to Boston to hold their event and were able to get a little bocce in to boot.

We played on the courts in the North End of Boston and everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. Even though this was a small group of 16, I still think this is one of the best ways to promote our game. Quite often the attendees have never played before or maybe played once or twice without getting much instruction on the rules or how the game is played. They often harbor misconceptions, thinking that they have to alternate rolls with their partner rather than roll two consecutive balls.

We give them a little primer on the game, answer any questions, then make sure they have a great time playing some kind of tournament format.

For this small event - four teams of four players each - we played a round robin with each team playing each of the other three teams. Games went to 12 points or 35 minutes, whichever came first. When we got to the final two matches of the day, all four teams had records of 1 win and 1 loss. At this point I gather the troops and tell them things like "It's a testament to the outstanding quality of play on display here" and "I've never seen so many gifted athletes in one place."

When the final matches were done, two teams were 2 - 1 and two were 1 - 2. We use point differential as the tie-breaker. If you won 12 - 8, 12 - 10, and lost 11 - 12, you had a point differential of +5 (+ 4, + 2, and -1). The winners were presented with autographed copies of The Joy of Bocce 3rd Edition at dinner that evening. What could be better?

View this week's photos...

Bocce product of the week
The RulerRef - A Review

The RulerRef is a well constructed measuring device created by Bronx, New York bocce enthusiast Tony Saccomanno.

According to the RulerRef website, Saccomanno "... loved playing the game but hated arguing with his friends over who won!

A Korean War Army veteran, Tony has always had an entrepreneurial spirit - he started his own metal polishing business in 1963. His shop is still going strong today in his hometown of the Bronx, New York. But his nights and weekends are spent at the bocce court he helped build near his home, or at the well known courts of Pelham Bay Park.

He used his knowledge of metal polishing and his connections with the metal-working workforce to construct a tool that will not only stand strong against rough housing and bad weather, but will last for years to come. Tony really 'made it like they used to'."


This device is similar to, but a lot more durable than, the Resolver that Cresskill, New Jersey's Mike Paccione brought to the market a few years back. Paccione's device had a swiveling tape measure set atop a clear acrylic cube that fit over the target ball. Saccomanno's uses the same basic concept but is metallic and more durable.

My bocce posse and I tested the RulerRef during our formal and informal play the last couple weeks and, after a little getting used to, it earned high marks from the gang. Most found it easy to use and quick and accurate for casual, open rules play.

You set the RulerRef over the pallino, extend the tape to one ball being measured, locking the tape into position, then swivel the tape around to compare with the other ball(s) in contention.

You need to be careful when setting the device over the target ball so as not to move the pallino. The device has a metal insert which allows the device to "... perfectly accommodate the two most popular pallino sizes - 50mm and 60mm."

A lot of us prefer the international size pallino (40 mm) but the device accommodates that one as well. Of course, you could argue that if there is too much space between the target ball and the inside rim of the device, that will leave margin for error in your placement (you could be a tad off when centering the device).

We all know that "inside measure" is the most accurate, and high level players are not likely to embrace the RulerRef. Only inside measure will satisfy their taste. But, that's OK because that group is not the target market for this well conceived, well constructed instrument.

This device is for the masses of players across the country who play on the lawn in their backyard or on courts in the public or private domain. That makes up the biggest percentage of bocce players right now.

Still, Saccomanno is likely to have the same problems that Mike Paccione had with his Resolver.

1) It will likely appeal to the average backyard and casual bocce player but not to those who prefer Punto Raffa Volo and those big money open rules tournaments. Although, I do see a lot of money tourneys where they still measure with a standard tape measure, measuring from the pallino to an estimated center of the balls being compared. This device is easily as accurate as that.

2) I remember that Paccione had trouble keeping production costs down so that he could get his device in the hands of players at a reasonable price and still make a buck. The RulerRef is high quality, priced right, and worth all of the $49.95 price tag. I hope it doesn't encounter the same production problems as The Resolver. Inside measures like the Premier Boule Measure conveniently fit in your pocket and sell for just about half the RulerRef price, so time will tell if people will pony up the extra dough. Lots of casual players measure with a tin can with a length of string attached to its bottom center. They'll love this device. I just don't know if the person who measures with an empty can and string will cough up the purchase price for the RulerRef.

When you see the RulerRef up close you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that it is extremely well made. Those who do fork over the cash for it won't be sorry.

The RulerRef comes in Red, Green, and White (for lawn bowls players). It is suitable for "clay and grass courts."

Check out the device and peruse the RulerRef website which has a short repeating video on how to use the device, some interesting navigation buttons and a Blog which has some interesting entries.

Hats off to Tony Saccomanno and his entrepreneurial spirit. I hope he makes his novel and useful RulerRef a household name in the bocce community.

Check out the Ruler Ref at

Non bocce product of the week
I've come into possession of a great many collectible items. I have all manner of items including costume jewelry, art work, and all kind of curios. So, I thought I'd give eBay a whirl.

Some item links to eBay below - for others bookmark StrikerPag...

2 Fountain Pens - Esterbrook 1551 & Waltham Du-O-Way


Beautiful Trifari Flower Brooch


Goldtone Watering Can Brooch Signed "Paquette"

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.


November 6, 2010 - California - Stockton - Waterloo -OPEN 2 MEN 2 WOMEN. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


November 11 - 13, 2010. Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Casino. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact Dana Shores @ 800-648-6992.


November 13 & 14, 2010 - Canada - Ontario - Woodbridge. 27th annual tournament - RAINBOW CREEK BOCCIOFILA - FATHER ERMANNO BULFON COMMUNITY CENTER, 8141 MARTIN GROVE RD., WOODBRIDGE, ONTARIO L4L 2L1 CANADA

* 3 person teams * double elimination
* entry fee: $150 per team * entry deadline: November 10th
* games to 16 points * IBA &/or in-house rules in force - no direct backboard contact
* prize money ALL GUARANTEED - total: $6550. 1st place $3500. Paying up to 8th place
* hotel: Monte Carlo Inns - 705 Appleton Cres. 905-761-7170 - For discount mention bocce code: ONTA 10
Contact Frank Cervo @ 905-851-1522 / 416-434-6005


Dec. 4, 2010 - Stockton California, Italian Athletic Club - 2 Men & 2 Women Open - USBF Rules - Contact Ron Jacobs @ 209-957-1223


December 10 and 11, 2010 - Canada - Ciociaro Club
3745 N. Talbot Rd. R.R. #1, Oldcastle, Ontario. The 2010 United States & North American Pallino D’Oro Championships Presented by Da Vinci Bocce L.L.C.
Rules: Singles Play, Punto, Raffa, Volo. International Rules. Contact Michael B. Grasser @ 248-505-4744 or .


June 25 - July 2, 2011. California - Campo di Bocce Livermore and Campo di Bocce Los Gatos. United States Bocce Championships. Check this pdf for details and contact info...

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