ABOUT MIRACLE ON GRASS
Miracle on Grass is the true story of how the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Team – an unknown group of American minor leaguers – stunned the international baseball powerhouse from Cuba. They were led by Hall-of-Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, who came out of retirement to lead the charge for his country, and they pulled off the greatest upset in Olympic baseball history. Their triumph was remarkable, but the story of their coming together is even harder to imagine. Miracle on Grass is Fanucchi’s first-hand account of the events that took place over a two-year period, and an intimate, perceptive portrayal of the three incredible weeks Team USA spent in Australia, climaxing with their gold medal triumph over Cuba. Fanucchi gives readers a behind the scenes look at how the MLB executives in charge of this operation went about selecting the players, how Lasorda persuaded management into giving him the opportunity to coach the team, how the Americans narrowly qualified for the Olympics during a gut-wrenching game, and how capturing the gold medal in Sydney changed the lives of every player, coach and administrator involved.
Q: Can you tell us why you wrote your book?
I wrote it because I have always wanted to write one, and because I had a great, unique story to tell, in which I was the only person who could really pull together all the interviews and details in order to tell it. On top of that, I wanted baseball fans and the general public to be able to hear about all of this incredible drama that very few people knew about.
Q: Besides books, what else do you write? Do you write for publications?
Yes, I am a sportswriter for Houston Community Newspapers and www.yourhoustonnews.com , covering to communities of Tomball, Magnolia, Cypress, and Spring, Texas.
Q: Would you like to tell us about your home life? Where you live? Family? Pets?
I live in a suburb of Northwest Houston, Texas, near Cypress. We love it here in this older, established neighborhood. The school bus picks up my kids right in front of our house, and then drops them off in the afternoon. My wife’s name is Jessica, and she is an Adjunct Professor of Kiniesiology at Lone Star College Cy-Fair, and we have two daughters named Emma and Grace. Our dog is a beagle named Bogey.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your childhood?
I was born in Northern California and grew up in a suburb of San Jose called Cupertino in the 70’s, and spent my teenage years there throughout the 80’s. My parents and my one younger brother and I lived in the same house for 20 years, in the days before Apple Computer exploded onto the scene and renamed the area “Silicon Valley”. My first job was delivering newspapers on my bike, and I used to ride by two buildings that had an apple on them, and had no idea what was going on in there. But, it was a great place to grow up – an All-American city - and the San Francisco bay area will always be where I left my heart. My brother and I spent all of our time outside with the neighborhood kids, playing sports like Little League baseball and soccer, and riding our bikes. I didn’t even know what a video game was.
Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promoting your book?
I did a lot of outreach to all of the players, coaches, and baseball administrators involved in the story, so that they could buy copies of the book online for family and friends in time for the Christmas holiday (the book first came out in early November 2012). I sold quite a few copies that way. I also asked them to promote it and talk about it on their social media accounts, as well as tell all of their baseball friends about it.
Q: Are you familiar with the social networks and do you actively participate?
Of course. It’s a great way to spread news and information. I created a Facebook and Twitter account just for the book, and in fact, my Facebook account for Miracle on Grass was up and running, and actively pursuing followers, six months before I published. I was posting updates on it, as I finished the project.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being an author?
Just the sense of accomplishment, that you were able to finish something you started and create something that your whole family can be proud of. I love the fact that my daughters can take my book to school with them and show their teachers and classmates, and that they will have something to hand down to their kids and grandkids, for generations in our family. I was also able to give that same gift to all of the gold medalists on the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Team, and the people that were involved in the story as well, because they can now share it with their families forever, and future generations can learn about what their relatives did.
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world other than where you are right now, where would that place be?
San Francisco – the greatest city in the world. I’ve been to a lot of places, both internationally and here in the United States, and perhaps I’m biased, but the Bay Area is simply the best. I was so lucky to have been born there, and spend the first 23 years of my life there. I love every single chance I get to go back for a visit, and I’m always sad when I have to leave. The culture, the people, the food, the sights and the feeling you get of the cool air coming off the bay, there’s just no other place like it.
Q: Your book has just been awarded a Pulitzer. Who would you thank?
First, I’d thank my Dad Larry, who the book is dedicated to. He gave me the work ethic I needed to finish the project, and also provided me with the education I received at Chico State, to get my degree in Journalism. I’d also thank my Mom Sue, who has always been my biggest fan. I’d thank my wife Jessica, who encouraged me for 10 years to write a book, and knew I could do it before I did. And I’d thank my professors in college, who taught me so many great and essential skills that I used.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, David Fanucchi. Do you have any final words?
Reach for your dreams! Life is short. And pick up a copy of Miracle on Grass! You’ll love it.
ABOUT DAVID FANUCCHI
David Fanucchi was born in Burlingame, California, and was raised in the small Silicon Valley suburb of Cupertino. A 1988 graduate of Monta Vista High School, Fanucchi attended California State University, Chico, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism in 1993. Fanucchi has spent the past 20 years working in various public relations and communications capacities for both amateur and professional sports teams and organizations.
Most notably, Fanucchi was Director of Communications for USA Baseball from 1999 to 2006, during which time he served as the official Press Officer for the 2000 USA Olympic Baseball Team that captured the gold medal under Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda. He also served as the press officer for the 2006 United States team in the inuagural World Baseball Classic – a roster that included Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Teixeira and Roger Clemens.
Fanucchi held a leadership role for the United States Golf Association’s (USGA) public relations efforts during the 2009 U.S. Open, and most recently has directed press coverage of the Champions Series Tennis Tour, starring John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, and Michael Chang among other legendary players. Fanucchi was inducted into the Chico State Public Relations Department Hall of Fame in 2009.
He serves as President of his own sports-business public relations consulting firm – Gold Medal PR – and currently resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife, Jessica, daughters Emma and Grace, and their dog, a beagle named Bogey.
Miracle on Grass is his first published book. You can visit David Fanucchi’s website atwww.davidfanucchi.com.