Monday, December 4, 2017

Bobby Valentine to headline second annual IABF fundraiser in Brooklyn

While Bobby Valentine wasn’t in the race for the New York Mets or Yankees managerial positions, he will return to the baseball spotlight on Thursday, December 7, 2017, when he will be honored by the Italian American Baseball Foundation at Carmine’s Sports Bar and Restaurant in Brooklyn. The current Sacred Heart University athletic director will be celebrated during the foundation’s second annual fundraiser for his role as a global ambassador within the sport.

Bobby Valentine / N. Diunte

Carmine Gagnone, the owner of Carmine’s in Brooklyn where the fundraiser will take place, is also one of the organization's founding members. Speaking with Gagnone at his restaurant Sunday afternoon, he felt that Valentine’s record of community involvement made him a perfect choice to be recognized Thursday evening.

“Anybody I speak with, when they talk about Bobby Valentine, they say the work he does off the field is tremendous,” Gagnone said. “From 9/11 on, he was all over the place night and day.”

The nubile foundation was formed as the brainchild of Gagnone and Mint Pros founder Joe Quagliano as an opportunity to further the game of baseball in Italy through the establishment of baseball clinics and educational partnerships.

“We started the foundation about two years ago,” he said. “We want to eventually have baseball clinics in Italy, and we want to bring former and present major league players to run both clinics and tournaments. We hope we can offer good athletes [in Italy] a chance to get scholarships to play in the United States.”

Their inaugural fundraiser honored Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, who spent time as Team Italy’s hitting coach during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Gagnone expressed how having a player of Piazza’s status support their initial efforts lent immediate credibility to the IABF’s mission.

“Having Piazza there helped tremendously,” he said. “We go to other events and they heard about us and what we do [just from Piazza appearing].”

This year’s event will have continued star power, with the list of confirmed attendees including current New York Mets and Team Italy outfielder Brandon Nimmo, as well as former Mets and Yankees stars John Franco, Jim Leyritz, and Rick Cerone. Brooklyn Cyclones Assistant General Manager Gary Perone will receive the IABF’s 2017 Executive of the Year award.

A limited amount of tickets remain for the November 7th, 2017 IABF Fundraiser. Each $500 ticket includes a cocktail hour from 6:30-7:30 PM, and then a two-hour dinner from 7:30-9:30 PM. For more information about the IABF, or to purchase tickets, visit their website,


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