Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"The Zen of Bobby V"

This documentary premiered on ESPN2 tonight. In its own way it is a beautiful little film. Being a baseball fan, or sports fan even, should not be seen as a requirement for watching and enjoying this snapshot of a season with Bobby Valentine as manager of the Chibe Lotte Marines in Japanese professional baseball. The film comes across as a little uneven and few documentaries could overcome the number of commercials that interrupted the flow. Watching and accompanying the eccentric and passionate Valentine in Japan is still a treat. Having learned Japanese in his '50's, Valentine has turned his suburb near Tokyo into his hometown that he bikes and walks around in like a kid. He has seemingly just morphed naturally into celebrity status in Japan as the biggest selling hamburger in the country is named after him, a beer carries his likeness and name, and his celebrity status is joyful in a country where he seems to freely mingle with everyone. This will no doubt be aired again and often in the near term and is worth a try.

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