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Kickin' back: Never an embarrassing moment

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

Bucs tight end Marco Battaglia couldn't be more Italian American and couldn't be more proud of his heritage. Here's a sample of his takes on Hollywood's depiction of Italian Americans, Sept. 11, pizza and pickup lines.

* * *

RM: So ... how yuh doin'?

MB: How yuh doin'?

* * *

RM: What's the deal with the whole, "How yuh doin' " thing?

MB: Man, we Italians, we're always in a hurry, see. So, we don't have time for, "How are you doing today?" It's "How yuh doin'?" That's legit among us Italians. That's how I greet my boys.

* * *

RM: Are Italian Americans getting a little tired of Hollywood's constant portrayal of them as being mobbed up?

MB: Absolutely. There's a big stereotype in Hollywood that we're all gangsters, and Italian actors are always getting gangster roles. Well, there's some good Italian actors out there who could play a number of roles. It's to a point now where it's a bit ridiculous.

* * *

RM: But don't you think classic films like the Godfather series and Goodfellas helped perpetuate that myth?

MB: They did. But those were serious dramas. Now everything is taken into a comedy vein. I know a lot of members of my family don't find it funny anymore.

* * *

RM: You've heard about being on cloud nine. What's it like to be on cloud eight?

MB: Right now, learning this offense is like being on cloud eight. Seriously, cloud eight is right before you fall off into cloud nine. You know you're getting to cloud nine, but you're just floating above it, you're not quite there yet.

RM: Where is Timbuktu?

MB: I've got no idea.

* * *

RM: Is it a real place?

MB: I'm going to guess Egypt. It sounds Egyptian.

* * *

RM: In 40 years, how will you describe the events of Sept. 11?

MB: I'll probably tell them where I was and who I was with (my wife, Maria, and my daughter, Ava). People should always keep that memory. But I tell you what, I don't think they should make it a holiday or anything like that. Holidays, like Labor Day or Memorial Day, the meaning gets lost. We should keep it as a day to remember, but people shouldn't be off. They should go to work on Sept. 11, go about their business but never forget.

* * *

RM: But the images are so powerful.

MB: You know what, television has dulled our senses to it. It's beating us down with it. Everyone was in front of the television that day, and we've stayed in front of the television. It's like a movie now. We've become saturated with it.

* * *

RM: Message to Osama bin Laden?

MB: You better hope you're dead.

* * *

RM: How would the Goodfellas have dealt with Osama bin Laden?

MB: He would have been baseball batted. It would have been over a long time ago.

* * *

RM: Have you watched the Anna Nicole Smith Show?

MB: I have.

* * *

RM: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being absolutely wretched, how bad is it?

MB: I've only gotten a glimpse and every time she's showing some part of her body or making some gesture to the camera. I'm going to have to give it a 9. It's really bad.

* * *

RM: Most embarrassing moment?

MB: Uh ... I'm going to have to think about that.

* * *

RM: You've seen those Sea Monkeys at the back of comic books. What the hell are those?

MB: I don't know, but I bet they were invented in Timbuktu.

* * *

RM: Who has the best pizza?

MB: Easy. My father owns a pizzeria on 179th Street and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, Queens. It's called Ninos. Best pizza in the country.

* * *

RM: So fast food pizza doesn't cut it?

MB: I'm not naming names, but they could step it up a little bit.

* * *

RM: Don't you get tired of pizza?

MB: You never get tired of pizza. Pizza is the Italian answer to burgers and fries. You don't get a bunch a people over and say, "Let's order some burgers?" No! You say, "Let's get some pizza."

* * *

RM: What's dad's secret to a good pizza?

MB: I'm going to share this secret right now: Don't oversaturate it with cheese. A good slice is a crispy slice and you can't get crispy if there's a lot of cheese on the dough. So you ease up on the cheese, you flavor the sauce nicely and you get a nice, crispy slice.

* * *

RM: Worst piece of pizza you've ever had?

MB: It was a pre-game snack about two weeks ago. I don't want to tell you where, but that was some bad pizza.

* * *

RM: Most embarrassing moment?

MB: I'm still thinking about that.

* * *

RM: Proudest moment?

MB: That would have to be the day my daughter was born (18 months ago). Don't forget to put in my marriage too.

* * *

RM: Best pickup line?

MB: Hi, I play football.

* * *

RM: Does it work?

MB: Nope. Actually, the best line is the one I used on my wife. I said, "I know you." And she said, "How do you know me?" And I said, "I've heard about you and you have good credentials." That was it.

* * *

RM: Worst pickup line?

MB: Anyone of the cliche ones. They're all atrocious.

* * *

RM: But people must use them for them to become cliches.

MB: The scary thing is I know some people, and you know some, people who use them everyday. But they don't get any play. It doesn't matter how good looking you are, you can't get no play with a weak line. Even if a guy has a game and then comes back with a goofy line, he's not getting anywhere.

* * *

RM: Should the topless photos of Miss North Carolina been enough to strip her of her crown?

MB: No. She could have gone to a topless beach and been doing nothing wrong and someone could have taken those pictures of her. There are legal topless beaches in the United States. Wouldn't that be the same thing? That's not fair.

* * *

RM: It was her ex-boyfriend who sold her out with the photos.

MB: He's hating. That's weak. That's a whole lot of hate by him.

* * *

RM: How would the Goodfellas have dealt with him?

MB: They would have taken pictures of him, if you know what I mean?

* * *

RM: Marco, most embarrassing moment?

MB: I can't think of any.

* * *

RM: No man alive has been so blessed.

MB: I've always had my game on. I'm a Renaissance man. I can't think of any. I guess my wife might know of one or two.


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  • Kickin' back: Never an embarrassing moment
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