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06/12/09 4:10 AM ET
Petition for Valentine's return created in Japan
100,000 signatures to be submitted in support of skipper
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Fans of the Chiba Lotte Marines and manager Bobby Valentine have gathered 100,000 signatures on a petition to keep Valentine as the Marines' manager beyond this season.
Valentine, the 59-year-old former Major Leaguer who managed the Mets and the Rangers in the U.S., was told his contract will not be renewed. Team president Ryuzo Setoyama announced in the offseason that the team couldn't afford Valentine after this season. It's Valentine's seventh season in charge of the Marines, including a 2005 championship.
The 100,000 signatures will be submitted to the front office of the Marines on Monday, a press release for the group organizing it said Friday.
As demonstrations continue in support of keeping Valentine, fans in the right field seats at Chiba Marine Stadium wear T-shirts saying "Bobby 2010" and wave huge signs with slogans like "No Bobby, No Marines," and "Always Behind Bobby."