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Baseballissimo Paperback – March 22, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In the spring of 2002, Dave Bidini set off for Nettuno, Italy, with his wife, Janet, and their two small children, in search of his favourite summer game, baseball. Nettuno was his destination because this town, south of Rome, has been the baseball capital of Italy since 1944, when the game was introduced by the American GIs who liberated the region. Bidini wanted to spend time in a town where everyone is as nuts about the game as he is, and in Nettuno, they love the game so much that they hand out baseball gloves and bats to children taking their first communion.

For six months Bidini followed the fortunes of the Serie B Peones, Nettunese to the core. At the same time he was also learning about his own heritage, having spent his youth vigorously ignoring his Italianness. The result of his summer in Italy is vintage Bidini: a funny, perceptive, and engrossing book that takes readers far beyond the professional sport to the game that people around the world love to play. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Author and musician Dave Bidini is the only person to have been nominated for a Gemini, Genie and Juno as well CBC's Canada Reads. A founding member of Rheostatics, he has written 10 books, including On a Cold RoadTropic of HockeyAround the World in 57 1/2 Gigs, and Home and Away. He has made two Gemini Award-nominated documentaries and his play, the Five Hole Stories, was staged by One Yellow Rabbit Performance Company, touring the country in 2008. His third book, Baseballissimo, is being developed for the screen by Jay Baruchel, and, in 2010, he won his third National Magazine Award, for "Travels in Narnia." He writes a weekly column for the Saturday Post and, in 2011, he published his latest book, Writing Gordon Lightfoot

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (March 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771014627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771014628
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,426,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Baseballissimo is one of those books you probably won't find at the bookstore, mainly because they wouldn't know what section to put it in. I only found it because of amazon's amazing "recommended for you" feature. It put together the fact that I enjoy memoirs, baseball, and Italy, and found a book about all three.

Baseballissimo is by Dave Bidini, a Canadian author. A surprisingly high percentage of the offbeat and intriguing books that I come across are by Canadian authors. I don't know how it works exactly, or what the income tax rate must be in Canada to subsidize such a program, but apparently the government actually pays authors to write books. They paid Bidini to take his family (wife, toddler, and infant) to Nettuno, Italy for six months so he could follow the local baseball team, the Peones for a season, and write a book about it. He says his choice was between baseball in Italy or wrestling in Newfoundland. Doesn't sound like a tough choice to me.

Bidini sits in the dugout and sometimes warms up with the Peones, an amateur team in one of the several Italian leagues. He gets to know the players and gives them all nicknames. He finds out how baseball came to be so popular in Italy (American GIs introduced it during World War II). He and his family become temporary residents of the small town of Nettuno near Anzio and about an hour's drive south of Rome. Bidini gets in touch with his roots - his grandparents were immigrants to Canada from Italy. He reminisces about how baseball has always been a part of his life. And he follows the Peones from pre-season training to the exciting season finish against Palermo.

Sometimes you get the feeling that Bidini cares more about the game than the Peones do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Baseball has been a popular sport in Italy ever since it was first introduced by American soldiers who liberated Italy from the fascist in World War II. Author Dave Didini (along with his wife and two small children) traveled to Nettuno, Italy (south of Rome on the Tyrrhenian coast) to seek out his favorite summer game in what has evolved into the "baseball capital" of Italy since 1944. The serie A team in Nettuno is the Indians -- but this is a team stuffed with talent imported from Latin America. So for six months Didini followed the fortunes of the Serie B Peones, solidly staffed with Nettunese locals. When he returned to America, he sat down and wrote up his experiences with Italian baseball and culture. The result is Baseballissimo: My Summer In The Italian Minor Leagues. A lively and informative account that is a "must read" for anyone with an interest in baseball, as well as the armchair traveler seeking a quite different perspective on living and life in contemporary Italy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on March 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
For anyone who loves baseball, food, wine, Italy, and music (not necessarily in that order), this is the book for you. Dave Bidini's experiences with the Peones are hilarious. Imagine the passion that Italians have about everything in life. Now imagine that passion when arguing with an umpire. Hot dogs in the dugout? Not in Italy. Italians know how to eat! Read this won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nonfiction books usually have a very long subtitle that tells more of what the author was trying to say in a book of about 200-300 pages. Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World is a good example.
Dave Bidini’s book Baseballissimo, however, says it all: A portmanteau of the Italian word for “lovely” and the game Bidini loves, baseball. Baseballissimo. One word says it all.
You can read the summary and find out that Dave Bidini travels to Nettuno, a city in Italy with a deep-rooted love for baseball that dates back to World War II, and even further back than that. He spends the summer getting to know the players on the Peones (yes, that is really their name), the history of the sport in Europe, and the land of his grandparents. I want to say something more about this book than just what is on the back cover.
To call Dave Bidini a Canadian Mark Twain is an insult to both Bidini and Twain (and probably Canada.) Sure, there are many similarities: both authors wrote wonderful prose about their observations while traveling around the world, but Twain could never have written about baseball with this much love [nor could he have traveled to distant lands in search of hockey (“Hockey Nomad” by Bidini is a must see) nor could Clemens write “Legal Age Life at Variety Store” (Whale Music by the Rheostatics is a must listen.)] Both authors are also institutions in their respected countries. Both authors (and I hate them for this and love them even more) write in a style that is complicated, deep, and nuanced with humor and wisdom simultaneously, while at the same time makes writing in this complicated, beautiful style seem easy. It’s not easy. Twain was a genius and Bidini is so multi-talented that he is in a different category.
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