More than any other team in the NPB, the Marines during the Valentine era had been identified by their manager.
At the entrance to the park, a flat-screen TV showed continuous loops of Bobby greeting fans. The concourse walkways inside the park were lined with 3-meter high Bobby murals, inscribed with his aphorisms — e.g. “The team is a family. A happy family makes the team stronger.”
Even the food there had his image on it, including the Bobby box lunch, a brand of sake with his picture on the label, a beer named after him and Bobby bubble gum.
Near the main entrance to the stadium there was a small shrine in his honor, featuring his papier mache image, and not far away there was a street named after him, Bobby Valentine Way.
But now, Setoyama began dismantling every reminder of Valentine’s influence. Down came the shrine, the main gate video presentation, the murals and posters on the walls. The beer, the hamburgers and other Bobby V. products also gradually disappeared.
Valentine’s many supporters wondered what the hell had happened.
Nice piece (part one of a four-part series) by Robert Whiting, of “You Gotta Have Wa” fame. Read the whole thing.