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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bobby V to speak at SCSU April 15

From Southern Connecticut State:
Bobby Valentine – perhaps best known for guiding the New York Mets to their last World Series appearance in 2000 – will speak about the importance of youth sports and their effect on a person’s character on April 15 at Southern Connecticut State University.

The former Mets manager and current baseball analyst for ESPN is the keynote speaker and a panelist for the program, “The Value of Youth Sports: Developing Kids’ Character or Early Test of their Mettle?” It begins at 10:30 a.m. at SCSU’s Michael J. Adanti Student Center Theater.

The panel discussion, following Valentine’s lecture, will include Julie Greenwood, executive direction of Squash Haven, a non-profit youth development agency in New Haven; Karreem Mebane, a former professional baseball umpire who has taught classes on ethics in sports, and Valentine. Bob Picozzi, ESPN sportscaster, will take part as a panelist and will moderate the discussion.

Joseph Panza, SCSU professor of recreation and leisure, is coordinating the program, which is free and open to the public. It is designed to be the inaugural forum for the new sports management program being offered by the university’s Recreation and Leisure Studies Department.

“We frequently hear about how participating in youth sports can build character in kids,” Panza said. “Yet, others say that sports are more about testing a person’s character and that they reveal the flaws in an individual’s character. In this forum, we plan to explore both views on this topic and seek our panelists’ thoughts, experiences and perspectives from youth sports to professional athletes.”

Panza added that he is delighted to have Valentine speak on campus. “Bobby is such a well-known and well-liked personality who has accomplished a great deal in both sports and in the business world,” he said.

On April 11, SCSU will show the movie, “The Zen of Bobby V,” as a lead up to the April 15 program. The movie is about Valentine’s time as the manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, a professional baseball team in the Japanese Pacific League. It was co-produced by Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew, son of David Pettigrew, SCSU professor of philosophy. The movie will be shown at 3:15 p.m. in the Adanti Student Center Theater and is free and open to the public.

Valentine is a Stamford native who graduated from Rippowam High School in Stamford and later from the University of Southern California. He was a utility player for several Major League Baseball teams, starting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969. He landed with the Mets during the 1977 season, before being released in 1979, when he signed with the Seattle Mariners. He retired after that season and then turned his focus to the business world, opening his own sports bar/restaurant in Stamford. He returned to baseball in 1985, serving as the Mets’ third base coach early in the season, when he was offered a job to take over as manager of the Texas Rangers, where he continued until 1992. After a stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, a team, in the Japanese Pacific League in 1995, he returned to the United States and managed the Norfolk Tides, the Mets AAA club. At the end of the 1996 season, he was asked to take over the Mets. He compiled a 536-467 records as the Mets skipper between 1996 and 2002. During that time, he led the Mets to the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.

Valentine went back to manage the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2003, where he enjoyed a successful tenure, including capturing the Japan Series in 2005. He became the first non-Japanese manager to accomplish that feat. He turned to the broadcasting booth during the 2009 playoffs and has been serving as a baseball analyst for ESPN since the start of the 2010 season. He also is currently the director of public safety for Stamford.


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