PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 01: Manager Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Four of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

MLB Network’s Natalie Spedeliere is living out her baseball dream with the likes of former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Mike Vivalo

On Wednesday, Dec. 4, the Italian American Baseball Federation will be honoring Joe Girardi, Frank Catalanotto and Natalie Spedaliere at its fourth annual Gala Dinner at Giando’s on the water in Brooklyn, NY

ESNY caught up with Ms. Spedaliere, this year’s IABF “Sports Executive Of The Year.”

“I’ve always said, ‘I should have been a boy.’”

Spedaliere jokes as she reminisces about her upbringing in the Bronx and attending New York Yankees games with her father as a child.

“I love all sports, but baseball is my No. 1,” she said. “It’s the closest to my heart.”

So, it’s no wonder that she joined MLB Network as an executive assistant at its inception in 2009 and continues to climb the ranks over there.

A natural-born “people person” and networker, Spedaliere started organizing and managing the “All Fore ALS” golf outings to raise money for ALS Disease as a passion project in 2011. Somewhere along the line she connected with Joe Quaqliano, the president of the IABF, and pitched the idea of an IABF Charity Golf Outing.

Soon, names like John Franco, Pat Kelly and Mike Pagliarullo were involved and Natalie had helped the IABF create it’s first Outing in October 2018.

Spedaliere volunteers her time to the IABF and credits her love of event marketing and networking as the formula for success and happiness. She has worked with cool people and has had many fun experiences over the years, even receiving a house warming present from Hall Of Famer Barry Larkin; but when the IABF notified her that they would be honoring her alongside Yankees great Joe Girardi, the long-time Yankee fan was totally surprised.

“They’ve honored some amazing people in sports over the last few years and it feels incredible to be the first woman honored and to be in such great company.”

Wednesday night promises to be another top-notch event with a who’s who of athletes and celebrities in attendance. Spedaliere will be “rolling deep” with her sister (her best friend), brother, mom, dad, uncle, boyfriend, etc.

Her vision for the IABF?

“To help the organization grow and form a baseball/softball academy for young kids,” Spedaliere said.

That’s the type of stuff that “Executives Of The Year” are made of.

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