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Valentine stays calm at eye of the storm

by Jason Coskrey

It’s been an interesting season for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Unfortunately for Bobby Valentine’s club, most of the news has come off the baseball diamond.

First there was the uproar caused by the team’s decision not to renew Valentine’s contract after the 2009 season.

Next up was club president Ryuzo Setoyama having to dispute the contents of a memo that Kyodo News reported showed the team was planning to relocate from its current stadium.

Additionally the Marines have gotten off to a slow start this year 10-16 after Monday’s 10-7 loss to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Despite everything swirling around Chiba Marine Stadium this season, Valentine hasn’t noticed many distractions and is going about his business as normally as possible.

“I can’t really tell,” Valentine said.

“It seems like there are distractions, but I don’t really read the newspaper so I don’t know.”

Having experienced the New York media during his time with the Mets, Valentine would seem to be used to seeing controversies spread through the media.

Even so, the manager admits recent events are not apart of the normal status quo.

“I don’t think it is natural at all,” Valentine said. “And distractions are not good for a team.”

The main controversy has been the decision not to bring the Lotte skipper back following the 2009 season.

Marines supporters have lashed out at the decision, holding a protest movement outside of the stadium during the season-opening series and expressing their support for him via banners and messages prior to each game.

“I appreciate the bond that I’ve established with my team and my community,” Valentine said. “That’s what I work to do.”

Valentine has said in the past that he has enjoyed his time with the Marines and would like to remain with the club. The developments of the past few months also haven’t seem to diminish his love for the profession.

“I love watching the development of players,” Valentine said. “I love watching teams come together with their community and their fans and I love the competition.”

Whether or not he’ll be able to continue getting that feeling in the Lotte dugout after this season remains to be seen.

“I really don’t know what the situation is,” Valentine said. “No one’s ever explained to me what’s going on right now.”