"The WBC is the world event that baseball needs," Valentine said. "But personally, I'd rather see championship teams from each country play each other. However, that's not realistic so an All-Star event like the WBC is the next best thing. I hope the WBC is a catalyst to grow baseball internationally."
'Great life experience'
Make no mistake at age 58, Bobby Valentine is better thanks to his time in Japan. And Japan is a better baseball nation for having experienced Bobby Valentine.
"It has been a great life experience. I lived in Japan as a minority, which is quite a different perspective on life," Valentine said. "I feel good about myself. I learned a new language. I learned a lot about baseball. I learned a lot about patience. I learned a lot about cultural diversity and people's motivations.
"I'm glad that I was young enough when I went there to experience it," Valentine continued. "It is so challenging. It is such a demanding baseball culture. Japan was a place where there was room for baseball growth. A place where I got to see the fruits of my labors. Japan is full of 30,000-capacity baseball stadiums. My first year we drew 400,000 fans. Now attendance is up to 1.7 million and my Japanese players come out and sign autographs before games. I was truly part of some positive change."