|Valentine: From baseball star to movie star|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 30 April 2008 23:31|
The former New York Mets and Texas Rangers manager is featured in the documentary ``The Zen of Bobby V,'' which is being screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be televised by ESPN2 on May 13 - the manager's 58th birthday.
``I was really tired of being in the States or talking to Americans here in Japan who would refer to Tom Selleck in ``Mr. Baseball'' or Bob Whiting and ``You Gotta Have Wa'' as their only reference point to Japanese baseball,'' he said Wednesday night from Tokyo during a video news conference.
That's why he granted access to Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Petti. and Andrew Muscato, who met while studying film at New York University.
all today would be considered ancient history.''
Valentine was a contentious figure while managing the Texas Rangers (1985-92) and New York Mets (1996-02). In Japan, where he began his second stint as the manager of Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines in the 2004, Valentine is more revered.
He is shown riding his bike around Tokyo during the 90-minute movie. He climbs Mt. Fuji and skis. The filmmakers show that a burger, a beer and a street have been named after him.
``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.''
As always, Valentine was free with his ideas. He said Japanese baseball has to pay more attention to its ballparks and that the nation's most popular team, the Yomiuri Giants, needs to replace its current stadium, which opened in 1988.
``Their Tokyo Dome, the Egg, has long exceeded its ability to serve the Tokyo area in my opinion. If the Giants step forward and say they're going to build a showcase, it will be a showcase, and it will be exactly the shot in the arm that MLB could infuse into Japanese baseball,'' he said. ``The idea of MLB new stadium has not translated into the Japanese new stadium because there is not an accent on the fan. It's an accent on the playing field or the practice field, and then it becomes this arena that fans are kind of allowed into to view the game.''
He 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.
``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.''
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.''
He said about 500 hours of video were shot for the movie. Scenes of Valentine's karaoke singing were cut.
What did he sing?
``'My Way' - what else would I sing?'' he said.