First off I would like to say forgive me for being a tad late on this. I’ve been on the road visiting family in San Diego for the past week so it has been difficult to keep up with what’s happening. With that said, I’d like to address something that happened this past Monday. Former Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine declared that he will not be returning to manage the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan next season. Ok, I know what you are thinking. Why does this pertain to the Washington Nationals? As of now, it really doesn’t but that doesn’t prevent myself and members of the media, ESPN’s Buster Olney to be specific, from speculating that DC could be the perfect place for Bobby V to return to Major League Baseball.
Bobby Valentine can be remembered not only for leading the Mets to the World Series in 2000, but probably more famously for trying to sneak back into the dugout in disguise after being ejected in a 1999 game. He then went on to be an incredibly popular manager for the Chiba Lotte Marines, reaching celebrity status after leading his team to the Pacific League pennant in 2005, spawning an ESPN documentary entitled “The Zen of Bobby V” in 2008. He is so popular that after news of his departure from the Marines, fans staged a nightly vigil and collected a whopping 100,000 signatures for a petition to get him to stay.
The relevance of all this is that Valentine is an incredibly charismatic manager who has a winning track record and is well received by his players. These are all things that the Nationals have been lacking at the helm since they came to Washington. Recent hire, Jim Riggleman has done admirably in his short stint since replacing Manny Acta but there is no guarantee that he will get the word “interim” removed from his title for 2010. And while there may be no truth to any rumors or speculation that Bobby Valentine is even on the front office’s radar, it’s safe to say that he remains a name that should be kept in mind once the offseason rolls around.