Monday, April 27, 2009

Becoming a Peri Longo

A Peri Longo, I was informed by my softball friends, is a person who travels around a lot discovering all that is around him.  They think that we fit the definition, I think they might be right!

On Sunday morning we drove Paul to the small fishing village of Pozzillo for his latest round of exploration and hiking.  According to our Garmin GPS, Pozzillo is only 7 miles from Malibu as the crow flys.  Paul is not a crow.  The drive out to Pozzillo was probably closer to 12 miles away by winding and steep country roads.  He made it back by late afternoon safe and sound.

Our goal for the day was to catch the 12:30 softball doubleheader in Messina between the home team and the squad from Rome.  If you recall, at our Wednesday/Friday practice facility, IV Novembre Softball Field, we have become friends with Valeria and Adele, pitcher and first base respectively and their trainer Alberto who practice there as well.  They too have had a rough start to their season and Valeria is out for a few weeks with a pulled quadricep muscle. 

The Messina Baseball/Basketball Complex was built in 1996.

Messina Manager Nino Sacca', Valeria, the home plate umpire, Adele and Alberto

We got there about 10 minutes late but no problem, the Rome team missed their plane and would be much later than expected.  This worked out really well for us because we got to meet two of the Messina team's coaches and tour the facilities.

With Messina Coaches Roberto Montero and Jesus Echarte

Roberto is from Camagüey, Cuba and Jesus is from Ciego de Avila, Cuba.

What a small world yet again, my father's hometown was Camagüey!  They both spend about half the year in Sicily coaching both baseball and softball teams in Messina before returning to Cuba.  Roberto has been doing this for nine years, I'm not sure how long Jesus has been at it.

While Jesus was quiet and reserved, Roberto is ALL Cuban.  Both are good guys enjoying what they do.

Roberto giving us a tour of the
multi-purpose gym.

Softball, Sun and a litle Havana Club Rum

Roberto and Jesus have a very nice apartment inside the baseball stadium behind the first base line that includes a bottle of Havana Club rum that Roberto shared with us.

All I need is a Radar Gun and a Cuban Cigar

Our seats at ground level behind home plate right next to Roberto and Jesus' apertment.  Roberto had Cuban music playing in the background during the first half of the game that eventually morphed into The Beatles Greatest Hits.


The Romans finally showed up and the doubleheader finally started about 90 minutes late.  The girls were very apologetic about the delay, as if after two years I still expected things to start on time in Italy.

The start would not be easy as the Roman mamager complained first about the pitching rubber being too close to the plate and then as you see here, he demanded that the coaching boxes be properly marked.


Click on this picture, I liked that the innings are marked in Roman Numerals.

"Now batting for Messina, Number 19,
Adele Castorina, First Base"

A Very Spacious Park Indeed

325 feet down the lines for baseball, they bring in the orange fencing as a backstop for softball and notice the cones in the outfield.  The cones are the home run lines.  If a batted ball rolls through the cones it is a ground rule double.  If a batted ball first lands past the cones it is a home run.  I sensed more controversy around the corner.

Sure enough, in the bottom of the sixth inning a Messina player blasted a 3 run home run which landed at least ten feet past the cones.  Never let it be said that an Roman will shy away from an argument!  The fireworks only lasted for about 3 minutes but is was fun to watch both managers go off!

MESSINA WINS!  MESSINA WINS!  6-2 was the final score.  It was the team's first win of the season and everyone was happy and excited in a shared way that only a victorious sports team can understand.  We had a GREAT day watching their victory!

Because of the late start, we opted to start our long trek back to Aci Castello and skip game two but we decided to take Alberto's advice and stop in Savoca on the way home.

A Moorish Style Church in Messina

Laurie had never been to Messina so we stopped to take in a few of the downtown highlights.

A Fascist Era Man Hole Cover still working 72 years later.

Messina's Cathedral

Messina's Cathedral's Ornate Ceiling

Savoca's Bar Vitelli

In the movie "The Godfather" this is the exact spot where Michael Corleone asks Apollonia's father for permission to court his daughter.

The Bar Vitelli's owner is a Rotarian!

A glass of the Bar Viteeli's Vino Rosso

In case you are confused, the Bar Vitelli proudly displays the Corleone's Family Tree

Savoca's answer to the shortage of construction materials...

The Hills surrounding Savoca

Che... the day's Cuban Connection continues

We stopped in Acireale for dinner and found this movie poster.

Acireale's Basilica Collegiata
San Sebastiano Martire

It was 8:30 in the evening and for some reason this Basilica's doors were open so we had to investigate.

Choir Concert

They were open for a very nice choir concert celebrating traditional Gregorian Chant music.

Kono Pizza

A new taste treat, our trattoria of choice was closed so we tried a nearby Tavola Calda and found this interesting cuisine choice.


Here is a small taste of the Choir Concert we experienced at the Basilica.


Andrew said...

What no "Vamos Bien" posters?

George said...

I didn't see any but maybe it's in their laundry area.

Anonymous said...

Hey George!

I'm supporting the Ventura College softball this spring. They are 2nd in the standings and they are going to the tournament this weekend and I'm going to see them play. Hope your doing well at Italy!!!

-Chris Ringor

DPLassen said...

OK, an apartment in a baseball stadium — how cool would that be?

George said...

VERY cool, especially the Havana Club rum part.