Pasquantino bonding with Italy teammates
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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For the first time in his life, Vinnie Pasquantino slept through an alarm.
This was in November, and Pasquantino and his fiancée, Ryann, were in Italy on a trip that Team Italy manager Mike Piazza organized before the World Baseball Classic. It was a trip he called “Mission Classic,” bringing some of the American players with Italian heritage over to the country for a week, where they could meet and train with some of the best Italian-born players.
It was a bonding trip before the team gathered in Taiwan to play in the WBC, which begins this week.
Anyway, back to the alarm. On the first day, Pasquantino was supposed to get up at about 8 a.m. for a daylong tour that started at the Vatican.
He woke up at 9:50 a.m. Pasquantino usually wakes up before his alarm every day -- he can’t remember ever sleeping through one.
“So that’s how the trip started for me,” Pasquantino said. “My first impression. Nice going. They waited for us at the Vatican, which was really awkward. I had to get an Uber over there. I thought I was going to get cut.”
First impressions aside, the trip was a meaningful one for Pasquantino, whose father’s side of the family has Italian roots. This was the first time Pasquantino went to Italy. When he returned to the States, he had a two-hour phone call with his grandpa, Dennis, about the country and his experiences.
“It was just super cool for me and for him,” Pasquantino said. “Just telling him everything we did. It was super special to have that conversation. To be able to experience it for myself, but also for my family, was special.”
Pasquantino’s first day in Italy got better after he slept through his alarm. The group went on a long tour that started at the Vatican and ended at the Coliseum. The next day, they went to Arrezo, a city in eastern Tuscany, for three days of light workouts, batting practice and getting to know the Team Italy staff. They also helped coach a Future Stars game for the Italian Baseball Federation.
Coaching third base? Vinnie Pasquantino.
“I was just working on making sure my shoulder was good enough to wave guys home,” Pasquantino said. “That’s all I did. And we won 1-0. We were sending them all day.”
Team Italy also visited Florence during the trip. The squad learned about the country, saw historical sites and consumed a very large amount of pasta during long meals and conversations with teammates.
“We landed at 7 a.m. on the first day, and from there it was pasta and wine the entire time,” Pasquantino said.
Pasquantino will wear Italia across his chest for the first time when Italy takes on Cuba on Thursday in pool play. He’ll be playing alongside Royals infielder Nicky Lopez, but also several of the same players he met in Italy back in November.
“I think it makes a big difference just because we know each other now,” Pasquantino said. “I know that Cuba got to Taiwan like a week ago.
They’ve been all working out. For us, we’re getting there a couple days before games start, and that’s not a lot of time to get to know your team. So it was super cool. It’s really special to have those memories that we all have now, like no matter what happens in the tournament -- which we want to win -- this trip was definitely an awesome part of the experience."