There's an article over on the NY Times about Marine fans joining together in an attempt to keep Bobby as manager of the team.
With more than 50,000 signatures on a petition to keep Valentine, this is a struggle, the fans believe, that goes to the heart of Japanese baseball. They see Valentine as a positive influence who is leading the team and the sport toward a more viable future by promoting more access to players and more fan-friendly marketing concepts.
To be honest, I'm really not sure if submitting a petition will do much of anything, but it's certainly nice to see the fans providing Bobby with so much support. And I have to agree that Bobby's been nothing but a positive influence to Japanese baseball... and most of all, to the Marines.
During his six seasons in Chiba (Valentine also managed here for one season in 1995 before returning to the United States to manage the Mets), membership in the team's fan club has grown by 600 percent to 140,000 card-carrying members, and team revenue has increased by 400 percent. The street where he lives in Chiba has been renamed Valentine's Way.
Unless there are some sweeping changes in the Marines' front office, I'm not really sure if it'll make much sense for Bobby to stick around. After being put through so much, would he really feel comfortable enough to continue working with the very same people that were trying to punt him off the team?
Perhaps it's time for Bobby to move and take on another challenge, like the Yokohama Bay Stars, or maybe even the Rakuten Eagles (assuming Nomura doesn't return and Furuta isn't hired). Maybe it's time for him to spread the wealth and show other Japanese fans just how great a manager he is.