Sometimes it happens that ideas remain stashed away for a long time, waiting for better times and for an event, a chance meeting, an occasion that makes it possible to transform ideas into projects, into programs, and finally to give them life.
That is what happened with the The Italian American Baseball Family, a concept promoted by Riccardo Fraccari, already at the time of the second World Baseball Classic, with the intention of connecting the Italian-American (and Italian-Canadian) communities with the Italian National Baseball Team participating in the top competition of the WBSC.
From a strategic viewpoint, the initiative is perfect: link the value of Italia with a group of people passionately linked to that, through an instrument of strong emotions like the pasttime that has involved so many members of that community, and which has grown into one of the most important businesses in the world in the world of entertainment.
Some steps had already been taken, including translating into English Un Diamante Azzurro, the book that tells the history of baseball in Italy through the eyes of the Italian National Team, and now is an important introduction for the Federation when in contact with the rest of the world. And then the socio-demographic study of the Italian communities in the United States with a list of names and contacts of important people with Italian ancestry involved in business from sport to entertainment, al the way to finance and politics. They also determined some possible locations and dates for the organization of an event to launch the Family that would draw enough attention and lead to followup events to get the movement into full speed.
In parallel, it was also necessary to find the resources to promote the project. Not an easy task, even if some early attention was drawn to it. It was still missing a catalyst to bring life to the project.
The sitatuion stayed that way for years, until almost by accident arrived the missing piece, which turned out to be the passion for the Italian Team of Frank Catalanotto.
As a player or coach, 'Cat' never said no when it was the moment to devote himself to the Classic or for the Academy and so it happened on a winter evening, at dinner with a pair of Italian-American friends, that they decided to do something positive for Italian Baseball. The two friends were Carmine Gangone, owner of the restaurant of the same name, and Joe Quagliano, of MintPros, an agency specializing in VIP baseball events. Things moved quickly through their contact Marco Mazzieri to begin things through the FIBS.
The Italian American Baseball Family was born in Februrary 2016, as a club of Italian-Americans both in and out of sport, who wanted to support the programs and projects of the FIBS, in particular:
-Spread the word and passion of the Italian National Team and build a group of supporters in the Italian-American communities.
-Increase the sense of belonging and the desire to take part in the Italian Team among Italian-American players.
-Tighten the business relationships to help promote sponsors for the main international competitions.
-Find resources to help the projects dedicate to the development of players and youth baseball for the FIBS, starting with the Academy in Tirrenia.
The launch even for the Family is a fund raising dinner at Carmine's in New York, December 8th. The list of guests include Catalonotto, Mike Piazza, Jason Grilli, Francisco Cervelli, Drew Butera, Chris Colabello, Lee Mazzilli, Bobby Valentine, Joe Pepitone, and many others who have accepted invitations.
During the event, the Berra family will be given the number 8 Italian National Team jersey, in honor of the great Yogi Berra, who passed away last year, and other than a legendary champion player for the Yankees, was also a symbol of the Italian-American community.
The promotional plan for the dinner in collaboration with MintPros started with the participation of the FIBS in the anniversary gala of the National Italian American Foundation, the most important organization of that type, with a stand linked to that of CONI USA, through which it was possible to demonstrate the program of the Family to the many participants, which was successful enough to sell all of the tickets in just three weeks.
In the course of the dinner, that will be presented by radio voice of the Mets, Wayne Randazzo, there will be auctions of different items to raise funds for the project, and also for the recent earthquake in Italy.
The next step is naturally the presence in the World Baseball Classic in March, but the project will have constant communication for development and collaboration with this key group of Americans linked to the Italian Team.