USA | 93 MINUTES | English, Japanese |
THE ZEN OF BOBBY V
He made his Major League Baseball debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers at just 19 years old. Since then, as a player, coach, and mostly manager, Bobby Valentine has been a stalwart figure in the world of baseball, and not just in America. After his first managerial position leading the Texas Rangers, Valentine went to Japan for a brief stint as a manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, testing the waters in a country where baseball was quickly becoming the most popular sport around. He returned to the United States in 1996 to become manager of the New York Mets. In 2000 he led his team to the World Series against the crosstown rival Yankees, but the Mets' loss in that game was the beginning of the end for Valentine. After finishing last in the National League East in 2002, he was fired. But in 2004, Valentine headed back to Japan, determined to help transform Japanese baseball into a real rival for the American major leagues instead of just another farm system for talent. Since Valentine returned, the Marines have been a perennial contender and even won the championship in 2005, prompting Valentine to propose a true World Series: a matchup between the American and Japanese champions. He has tried to boost the Japanese game in quality as well as stature, arguing that the Japanese league shouldn't play second fiddle to anyone. Along the way, Valentine has become an icon and hero in Japan, a recognizable celebrity as popular as any ballplayer. Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew, and Andrew Muscato take the audience behind the scenes into a baseball-season-in-the-life of this energetic, enthusiastic, and outspoken American who continues to prove that his love for the game is infectious even across oceans.