Ex-New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine is reportedly being considered by President-Elect Donald Trump’s team for Ambassador to Japan.Bobby Valentine, Ambassador to Japan. Has a nice ring to it.
Valentine does have significant ties to Japan, becoming the first American manager to win a championship there during his seven seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines. He is also reportedly friendly with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who attended the University of Southern California, like Valentine.
Japan is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics, and the nation is highly focused on bringing baseball back to the Games – something that could strengthen Valentine’s case for appointment.
Valentine has been involved with Trump since the early 1980s, even developing a tight friendship with Anthony Scaramucci, a leader in Trump’s transition team.
This possible choice by Trump would be another in a string of recently unexpected choices for federal roles, as the President-Elect prepares to take the Presidential Office in January.
Currently, Valentine is the athletic director at Sacred Heart University, where newly Trump-appointed administrator of the Small Business Administration and former WWE CEO, Linda McMahon, is on the school’s board of trustees, and has a reportedly close relationship with Valentine.
But that relationship with Valentine is not what apparently started the ball rolling in his direction, as that can be attributed to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who brought up the 66-year-old’s name to the Trump camp, according to the report.
Most recently, Valentine managed the Red Sox in 2012, but was fired after just one 69-93 season in New England.
Previously unable to be reached for comment, the New York Daily News reports that Valentine has heard no such idea himself.
“I haven’t been contacted by anyone on Trump’s team,” Valentine told the Daily News.
When asked if he would be interested in such an opportunity on the world stage, Valentine replied unequivocally, “I don’t like to deal in hypotheticals.”
The conflicting reports do bring some questions to the validity of the notion of Valentine being on the short list of candidates to be Ambassador to Japan. But it sure is an interesting topic to talk about.