NEW YORK (AP) -Bobby Valentine thinks Major League Baseball should consider allowing its players to compete in the Olympics, a move that might lead to the sport's readmission for the 2016 games.
Only players not on 25-man MLB rosters can be considered for the Beijing Olympics in August. The International Olympic Committee dropped baseball from the 2012 Games in London, partly because it was unhappy the best players aren't allowed to compete.
Valentine began his second stint as the manager of Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines in the 2004 and suggests MLB follow the example of the Japanese leagues.
``We have only 12 teams. We are sending a team of 28 players. There are a few players from each team leaving,'' he said. ``Think if MLB sent a team - it might be one player from each team, even though there are many different countries represented in MLB.''
Valentine spoke from Tokyo during a video news conference Wednesday night to promote ``The Zen of Bobby V.,'' a documentary by Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew and Andrew Muscato that is being screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. It will be televised by ESPN2 on May 13 - the manager's 58th birthday.
He was a contentious figure while managing the Texas Rangers (1985-92) and New York Mets (1996-2002). In Japan, Valentine is more revered.
``I came here in '95 and I gave a good effort but not my best effort,'' he said. ``I think when I returned in 2004 and then won a championship with a community and a team in 2005, the fans understood totally my passion, my commitment, what I was here for - that was to not only earn a living and enjoy what I enjoy most in life, and that's managing a baseball team, but making Japanese baseball as good as it could possibly be.
``And I eat the food and ride the trains and enjoy the culture immensely and even try to speak the language a little,'' he added, ``and that's probably picked up here and there.''
Because he's across ``the pond'' - as he termed the Pacific Ocean - it's hard for him to keep track of what's going on in the major leagues.
``I do know the Diamondbacks are off to a great start, but I can't tell you who's hurt on the Mets,'' he said. ``I'm sure that the New York teams, playing the last year in their respective stadiums, are going to give their fans more than their money's worth this year, and I think they'll be at the top before it's all said and done. But that's just a gut feeling, it's not based on any knowledge of the teams or the competition.''
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