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Rush Street Interactive Inks Former NY Mets Manager Bobby Valentine To Promotional Deal

James Murphy
by in MLB on
  • Rush Street Interactive has announced that former NY Mets manager Bobby Valentine has come on board as a brand ambassador for the company’s BetRivers and PlaySugarhouse brands.
  • Valentine played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angeles, New York Mets, and Seattle Mariners during his active career. In addition to the Mets, he managed the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League.
  • Valentine will provide ‘exclusive network and social media content’ for both of RSI’s brands.

Rush Street Interactive has announced that former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine has signed on as a brand ambassador for the company’s BetRivers and PlaySugarhouse brands. Valentine played in the Majors for over a decade with several major league teams but earned his greatest fame as a manager with the New York Mets. In addition to his run with the Mets (1996-2002) he managed several other teams in the US Majors as well as Japan’s Pacific League.

Valentine has done some broadcasting, serving as an analyst for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and contributing commentary to NBC Sports and MLB on Sirius. He’s a good pickup for RSI due not only to his fame and popularity, but his charismatic personality. While some retired baseball managers are relatively low key individuals that definitely isn’t the case with Valentine. He’s previously served as a brand ambassador for CBSSports.com’s fantasy sports platform and has run for Mayor in his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut. Even his minor brushes with controversy have had a comical element. In August 2021, he accidentally left his cellphone video on record while recording a Camero. It would go on for eight minutes, during which he let his dog relieve himself in a neighbor’s yard without cleaning up the refuse. He’s also made a somewhat dubious claim that he invented the ‘wrap sandwich’.

He’s definitely an entertaining guy, but his baseball credentials are as legit as they come. He played a decade in the big leagues including stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Calfornia Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners. After a career as a capable ballplayer, he turned to coaching. He was part of the Texas Rangers’ coaching staff when he took over as manager after Doug Rader was fired 32 games into the 1985 season. The Rangers were 53-76 that season but in 1986 they went 87-75, finishing second in the AL West with Valentine finishing as ‘runner up’ for the AL Manager of the Year. Texas would go downhill from that point and Valentine would be fired midway through the 1992 season–by then managing partner George W. Bush (wonder what ever happened to *him*?). He was back on the sidelines until 1994, when he took over as the manager of the Triple A Norfolk Tides. The following season, he had his first stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League. He would return to Norfolk in 1996, and was promoted to manager of the New York Mets with 31 games left in the year.

He would achieve his greatest success and become a celebrity during his run with the New York Mets (1996-2002). In six full seasons with the team the Mets had winning records in five with a trip to the NLCS in 1999 (lost to Atlanta) and the World Series in 2000 (lost to the New York Yankees). He would go on to briefly manage the Boston Red Sox along with another run in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines where he’d lead them to a championship in the inaugural Asia Series championship. After his managerial career, Valentine served as athletic director at Sacred Heart University.

Valentine is excited to promote the RSI brands in the northeast–particularly his home state of Connecticut:

“I’m excited to be joining the BetRivers team at an exciting moment in the evolution of sports betting. This partnership will allow us to share my passion for competitive sports while at the same time providing valuable commentary to fans.” 

The specifics of Valentine’s role remains ‘TBA’ though the press release announcing his signing indicates that he’ll be creating content:

Valentine will provide exclusive network and social media content for BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com. He will partake in a weekly Major League Baseball video, as well as podcast, television, and radio interviews.

On a personal note, I’ve never liked using the word ‘partake’ in this way. It’s not wrong–you can pull up any dictionary definition and see that. I just think ‘participate in’ is better. Maybe because ‘partake’ has become synonymous with food, drink, drugs, etc. In fact, ‘partake’ has become something of a ‘code word’ for using drugs of various sorts:

Beside its official use (generally in church services, as mentioned by @JLG), it is very commonly used facetiously – Do you partake? – to ask a new acquaintance whether s/he drinks or (even more commonly) smokes marijuana. Another way of asking this question is Do you party? – I have no idea whether one is derived from the other, and if so which came first.

This sort of question is usually asked in a joking, indirect way so that if the answer is “No”, the asker can pretend that s/he was misunderstood. Plausible deniability in interpersonal relationships, if you will.

If you run into me socially, you don’t need to ask me this question: yes, I would like a beer; no, I don’t partake of the leaf.

A Washington State University professor named Paul Brians has written a book called Common Errors in English Usage and offers this perspective on ‘partake v. participate’:

“Partake” looks like it might mean “take part,” and that’s how many people mistakenly use it where they should say “participate.” The main modern meaning of “partake” is “consume,” especially in relation to food. One can partake of the refreshments at a party, but one can also partake of Twinkies at home alone, without any thought of sharing.

So don’t ask people to “partake” in a planning process when you mean to ask them to participate.

I was always taught that if you are going to be involved in the process of something that means you’re participating, not partaking. In high school, the rule was that ‘you partake of something, you participate in something’. There’s also the argument that ‘partake’ as a synonym for ‘participate’ is an antiquated use of the word. To wit–the use of the word in all forms peaked in the mid-1700’s and has been in decline ever since:

As one of the comments above notes, the word is still used in the context of the Eucharist. Ultimately, it isn’t *wrong* to use ‘partaking’ in reference to Valentine’s content creation but IMO (and the opinion of at least some other experts) using ‘participating’ is more precise. It isn’t quite an obsolete usage of the word–like referring to a group of young women as ‘maids’ or using the word ‘prithee’ instead of ‘please’. On the other hand, if the content plan is to get Valentine strung out on drugs and somehow involve the Eucharist it should be extremely entertaining.

But I digress….

Richard Schwartz, CEO of RSI, is one of the sharper corporate leaders in the sports betting/gaming sector and is happy to have Valentine on board to ‘partake’ in content creation:

“We are thrilled to have Bobby Valentine, whose career spans six decades, join our BetRivers family of Brand Ambassadors. His vast knowledge and valuable MLB insights will be a tremendous asset to our sports bettors.”

RSI currently offers some combination of online, mobile and/or retail sports betting in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia and Arizona. They also have an international presence via their RushBet.io brand which serves the regulated gaming market of Columbia with casino games and sports betting.

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