Bobby Valentine has managed at just about every level.
In the majors, in some of the biggest cities, and within some of the most aggressive media markets.
He managed in Triple-A, working with up-and-coming prospects and temperamental veterans who didn’t really want to be playing in the minors.
He even managed seven years in Japan – despite limited foreign-language abilities.
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Where did Valentine have the most difficult time managing?
“Japan, for sure,” Valentine said Thursday before the start of the Fresno Grizzlies’ Hot Stove Gala, where he was a featured guest speaker. “Just that language barrier.
Wherever you are, you inform, you instruct, you inspire.
Bobby Valentine, who has managed in American baseball’s minor and major professional leagues as well as in Japan
“But wherever you are, you inform, you instruct, you inspire,” Valentine added. “You hope that those on the listening end actually take your information and take your instruction and are inspired by it.”
Valentine was joined by Pacific Coast League President Branch Rickey, Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco and Grizzlies players Tyler Heineman and James Hoyt as featured guest at the annual offseason function, which serves as a reminder that baseball season is about to begin.
I think like we’re going to have a better team than last year.
Fresno Grizzlies manager Tony DeFrancesco, who guided the team to Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National championships in 2015
With league and Triple-A National championships in the trophy case from last season, the Grizzlies have enjoyed this offseason more than any than that have come before.
And the excitement of repeating already had Heineman, Hoyt and DeFrancesco eager to get the season rolling. Fresno opens April 7 in Las Vegas, then hosts the 51s in the home opener April 15.
“I think like we’re going to have a better team than last year,” DeFrancesco said. “We’re just going to keep fighting until the end like they did.
“I know the quality of player we’ve got in the organization. And the Astros kind of got a pretty set roster. If everyone is healthy, we’re going to have a pretty good team again.”
Added Heineman: “The Astros are one of the best systems in baseball. We’ve proven it. When you have that talent from (the lower minor leagues) and some of the talent again from the Grizzlies, I think it’s going to be real exciting and I think we’re going to be really good.”