President-elect Donald Trump is apparently considering former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine for the post of Ambassador to Japan.
One report released by an online political site said that Valentine already has spoken to Trump about taking over that position following Trump’s inauguration on January 20.
During his professional baseball career, Valentine played for five teams in the Majors during the 1970s, but is well known the most for his time as manager, especially from 1996 to 2002 when he managed the New York Mets.
Valentine guided New York to a 2000 World Series, where the Mets lost to the New York Yankees in five games. His last managerial stint was in 2012 with the Boston Red Sox. That season was a disappointment and marred by drama within the Red Sox clubhouse.
Boston finished that season 69-93 and the Red Sox fired Valentine one day after the regular season had ended. Currently Valentine is the Sacred Heart University Athletic Director.
The big question for many is why would Valentine be considered for the post of Ambassador to Japan? The answer is that Valentine managed for a number of seasons in the Japanese Pacific League.
He managed one season in Japan before returning to the U.S. to manage in the big leagues, but returned to manage in Japan for two seasons, leading the Chiba Lotte to its first title since 1974.
During the course of his second managerial stint in Japan, which lasted until the end of the 2009 season, he become a Japanese cult hero after baseball fans became enamored with his personality.
While Valentine does not have any experience technically as a diplomat, he is beloved in Japan and is friends with current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Valentine is also a friend of SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son who is also the owner of a pro baseball team in Japan called the SoftBank Hawks.
This past week, Trump held a meeting with Son and announced that SoftBank was going to invest $50 billion into the technology sector of the U.S.
When Jason Miller the communications director of the Trump transition team was asked about the possible appointment of Valentine as the Ambassador to Japan during a call with the press on Friday, he said he did not have information regarding that at the moment.