Italy -- yes, Italy -- is the talk of the World Baseball Classic, after Thursday's riveting victory over Mexico and a 14-4 shellacking of Canada Friday afternoon.
The Cinderella story demands a practical explanation, and it has been pointed out that the 28-man roster includes many Italian-Americans and only seven Italian-born players.
But that is only part of the narrazione .
Italy has more domestic talent than many observers realize. Two players who spent formative years in the Emilia-Romagna region -- right-hander Alex Maestri and first baseman Chris Colabello -- flanked manager Marco Mazzieri at Friday's postgame news conference as the stars of Italy's mercy-rule victory over Canada.
And the connection between Maestri and Colabello goes far deeper than that.
"I owe my life to Dr. Maestri," Colabello told me.
Dr. Paolo Maestri is Alex's father, who watched on television from Italy as his son earned the victory while permitting one run in three innings against a Canadian line...