The NY Times recently ran a piece that discussed the possibility of Bobby Valentine managing the US team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. There's still quite a bit of time before that, but selecting Bobby makes a lot of sense to me, assuming he's available.
In 823 games (spanning 6 seasons) with the Chiba Lotte Marines, Bobby is 432-373-18. Throw in his 2,189 (1117-1072) games of managing experience with the New York Mets and Texas Rangers, and you've got a manager who has a wealth of both US and Japanese baseball.
Bobby with Yuki Karakawa
So, would Bobby do it?
He emphasized that he did not know what he would be doing in 2010, much less in 2013, yet the notion of managing the United States team intrigued him. Valentine, who managed in 15 seasons with the Texas Rangers and the Mets, said he would be flattered to be mentioned as a candidate.
"Remember, it's the players who play," he said. "There would be some kind of value that I'd bring to the party because I'd know the talent, or most of it, from Japan. I could do some things differently. I think the attitude would be different."
One of the things Bobby mentions doing differently is trying to "instill an attitude more like Japan's." That would include trying to get players to take the series a lot more seriously. Said Valentine:
It seems like thereÂ’s a little more passion and a little more desire to do your best from the Japanese players. It still seems, from far away, that some guys from M.L.B. are saving their best for the season. I can understand that.
The question is, would he actually be able find those kinds of players? And that's where Bobby shifts gears and talks about how the WBC simply can't succeed unless some changes are made, like moving the series to the winter to allow for more games and getting rid of the pitch counts.
If this is a real championship, why should there be any pitch limits? [...] Do you think it is right that the rest of the world of baseball has to be told what to do by M.L.B.?
But despite the problems inherent in the system, it appears that Bobby would still be interested in managing the US, if given the opportunity.
Still, the more Valentine spoke about the potential challenge of managing the United States, the more excited he became. He loves the spotlight, so the chance to climb on the world stage and perhaps topple the country that is his second home would be attractive.
If Bobby is at the helm of the US team in 2013, his fans across this tiny island-nation might end up imploding from excitement. And he could be the one manager out there that could really scare Japan.
The Bobby Burger!
I wonder though, will these rumors of Bobby managing the US kill off any potential job offers from ball clubs in Japan? That issue might be moot though, since I haven't really heard Bobby's name in connection with any other clubs in Japan.
Don't forget the beer! (special can from 2005)
It's still early though (for both the current season and the next WBC), and anything can happen.