‘U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bobby Valentine’ has a nice ring to it

Bobby Valentine infamously once snuck back into the dugout following an ejection as manager of the Mets while wearing a phony moustache and sunglasses.

So, of course, Bobby V now might be about to become a U.S ambassador under President-elect Donald Trump.

WEEI in Boston cited sources early Friday morning that Valentine is “on the short list” of those being considered for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

Valentine told the News’ Christian Red on Friday morning that he hasn’t “been contacted by anyone on Trump’s team” about the gig. But I still kind of love this idea, actually.

Trump mulls ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine as Japan ambassador

If fictional George Steinbrenner could send assistant to the traveling secretary George Costanza to communist Cuba to recruit players for the Yankees, why not Bobby V as ambassador to a country in which he still is beloved and extremely popular?

The athletic director at Sacred Heart University since 2013 — a gig he got shortly after getting fired by the Red Sox — the 66-year-old Valentine had two stints, seven years total, managing and living in Japan. He led the Chiba Lotte Marines to a Japan Series title in 2005, becoming the first American-born skipper to do so.

While having no experience in politics, Valentine has known Trump and his family for more than three decades and, according to WEEI, was recommended for the job by New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

Linda McMahon, the former WWE CEO named by Trump earlier this week as his incoming head of the Small Business Administration, is a member of the Sacred Heart board of Trustees.

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Valentine’s former boss as Texas Rangers team president, Tom Schieffer, held the ambassador post under President George W. Bush while Bobby V managed in Japan. And according to WEEI, Valentine already is “friendly” with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a fellow USC alum, as well as SoftBank Hawks owner Masayoshi Son.

So his connections here are actually real and plentiful.

Valentine, who would succeed present ambassador Caroline Kennedy if so tabbed, certainly could play a key role with baseball returning as an Olympic sport for the 2020 games in Tokyo.

Maybe even get the Mets some money back from the whole Kaz Matsui fiasco.

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Such a designation actually might turn out to be one of the more inspired selections by the president-elect, but that’s another column lede entirely.

OUTTA BOTTE EXPERIENCE

The U.S. doesn’t have diplomatic relationships with North Korea, but maybe Dennis Rodman could use his influence with Kim Jong-un to try and convince the Supreme leader to stay away from the nukes.

(KCNA/EPA)

— While purportedly busy with other things these days, the president-elect is going to remain an executive producer on upcoming seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, hosted now by replacement and former politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The reality show has boasted a pretty impressive and diverse list of former sports stars as contestants over its eight seasons:

Jason Pierre-Paul has hernia surgery, ends his regular season

Nadia Comaneci, Jenny Finch, Lennox Lewis, Tito Ortiz, Natalie Gulbis, Scott Hamilton, Dennis Rodman, Herschel Walker, Goldberg (apparently, a wrestler), Michael Johnson, Maria Kanellis (another wrestler), Summer Sanders, Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, Michael Andretti, Lou Ferrigno, Johnny Damon, Shawn Johnson, Terrell Owens, and in the upcoming season with Arnold: Laila Ali, Eric Dickerson, Lisa Leslie, Chael Sonnen and Ricky Williams.

There might be a pretty interesting and effective Cabinet combo in there somewhere, too.

Secretaries Rodman, Canseco, T.O., Straw and TV’s The Incredible Hulk? Imagine the possibilities.

— Have been so impressed by longtime San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich’s thoughtful responses about political and social issues all year.

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Gregg Popovich, he gets it.

Gregg Popovich, he gets it.

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

But you have to love this, too, from Pop, when asked after Thursday’s loss to the Bulls if “the responsibility of being mentally ready from the start (of the game) falls on you and the veteran leaders” on the Spurs:

“I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think the plumber needs a pep talk. If the doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.”

— Meanwhile, Phil Jackson just called out Daffy Duck and Bill Murray for holding the ball too long in Space Jam.

— The Rangers’ backup goalie has posted eye-popping numbers — an .857 winning percentage, a 2.05 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage — in nine games this season.

Jets owner Woody Johnson is root of team’s ongoing problems

Just passing along the information, you guys.

— It took a 5-0-1 run, but the Islanders finally have leapfrogged a couple of teams — Buffalo and Toronto, for now — out of the Eastern Conference basement.

That’s how horrid their start was coming off of last spring’s long-awaited playoff-round win. But there’s plenty of time left to make a real move now in what is shaping up as a wild playoff scramble in the East.

— JPP goes down again and Justin Tuck says the Giants are “truly missing that guy that can light a fight under people.”

Nick Mangold out for the season and his Jets career could be over

He’s never going to live down that fireworks thing, is he?

— The Jets being so putrid again has meant the entire week of stories leading up to the 49ers game have not been about Kaepernick.

Get the feeling not everyone out there is unhappy about that.

— Lastly, on the Nikita Whitlock vandalizing/break-in: No one should ever have to come home to such a sight, to such a violation of your family’s personal space, and especially to racial epithets and other hateful things scrawled on your walls. Ever.

Follow the Daily News Sports on Facebook. “Like” us here.

We read with interest that Victor Cruz and others made a causal link to Trump’s election with the ongoing spate of such incidents.

Obviously, not every hate crime or racially charged action can be pinned on Trump and/or the rhetoric attached to and, in many cases, endorsed by a portion of his supporters for months.

Of course not.

But Trump’s name allegedly was scrawled on Whitlock’s wall, as well. He should angrily be tweeting about that and denouncing similar episodes far more frequently than anything that happens on Saturday Night Live.

PETE’S PICKS

Plenty to choose from here, good and bad, but these are my top-5 athletes in comedic movie roles/cameos:

5. Mike Tyson, as himself in The Hangover.

(Singing, air-drumming) “I can feel it, coming in the air tonight…Hold on.”

4. Reggie Jackson, as himself in The Naked Gun.

“I must kill…The Queen.”

3. O.J. Simpson, as Detective Nordberg in The Naked Gun 2 ½.

(Whatever happened to that guy?)

“Hey, I saw Kid Minneapolis fight once. In Cincinnati.”

2. Bob Uecker, as radio announcer Harry Doyle in Major League.

“So, here is Rick Vaughn, the one they call the ‘Wild Thing.’ He sets and deals (and throws a wild pitch). Just a bit outside; he tried for the corner and missed.”

1.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as co-pilot Roger Murdock in Airplane!

“Listen kid, I’ve been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”

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