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Italy’s secret weapon in World Baseball Basic? The ‘staches

March 11th, 2023TAICHUNG, Taiwan — “I mean, what am I going to say, no, when they ask me to shave and make my mustache like the good old days?” Team Italy manager Mike Piazza said. “They wanted to see from ’93, ’94, ’95. I was like, ‘OK, I’ll bring it back.’”“Actually, I think it was

Italy’s secret weapon in World Baseball Basic? The ‘staches

March eleventh, 2023

TAICHUNG, Taiwan — “I imply, what am I going to say, no, after they ask me to shave and make my mustache like the nice outdated days?” Group Italy supervisor Mike Piazza mentioned. “They wished to see from ’93, ’94, ’95. I used to be like, ‘OK, I will carry it again.’”

“Truly, I feel it was Dominic Fletcher who acquired it first, proper, after which Harv acquired it second,” Nicky Lopez mentioned. “And all of us adopted Harv (pitcher Matt Harvey).”

Matt Harvey’s mustache began a development on the staff. (Getty Photographs)

What issues greater than possibly the variety of superstars you have got in your staff or the depth of Main League expertise in your roster within the WBC — a event the place guys are solely collectively for a pair weeks — is staff chemistry. How rapidly gamers can get together with each other. You may see it within the 2-0 Netherlands team and, after watching Italy’s win and postgame presser, you see how one thing as foolish as rising mustaches has bonded the group.

“Behind the scenes, you understand, our staff is shut,” Lopez mentioned after the victory on Thursday. “We’re hungry people who need to make a reputation for ourselves, however in the identical breath we’re enjoying for one another, and you possibly can see that tonight. We’re top-stepping it, pushing for each other.”

“We’re enjoying for our households. We’re enjoying for our nation,” Harvey mentioned. “That runs in our blood and we’re simply tremendous excited to be right here.”

Fletcher — one of many heart-and-soul leaders of the staff — began the facial hair development.

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“Yeah, our basic supervisor, Gianmarco, has been rocking a ‘stache for years,” Fletcher mentioned. “So I sort of hopped on board. I feel [I grew it] the primary day we acquired right here, after which slowly, one after the other, guys jumped on and it simply changed into a factor.”

And naturally, they needed to get their supervisor, who’s had a few of the most famed hair/facial hair in baseball historical past, concerned.

“They made me form my goatee and make a mustache as properly,” Piazza mentioned. “They requested me to do it. It feels just a little completely different.”

Mike Piazza has introduced his facial hair again to his Nineteen Nineties Dodger days. (Getty Photographs)

“They’re an important bunch of fellows,” Piazza continued. “As you possibly can see, they’ve chemistry, they’ve enjoyable, they’ve bonded extraordinarily properly. And that is vital.”

You possibly can see Group Italy’s give attention to togetherness months earlier than the event: Gamers on the roster — largely Italian-American — have been invited on a trip to their ancestors’ home country for per week. They educated with Italian-born ballplayers, ate pasta in Parma and drank wine in Piazza’s villa.

“Now we’ve an understanding of who this staff is,” Vinnie Pasquantino mentioned on the time. “Hopefully that helps us.”

Will the mixture of Italy’s togetherness and expertise be sufficient to get them to the subsequent spherical in Tokyo? Time will inform. They misplaced a troublesome matchup towards Chinese language Taipei, and nonetheless have to play two extra video games towards some formidable groups right here in Taiwan. However there’s a sure energy in friendship and in brotherhood.

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