Preseason Baseball Dinner on Friday

Warm weather. Sunny skies. No snow. Got baseball fever? Well, just in time, Connecticut is about to host its preseason baseball dinner. So we thought we'd give you a reminder. Come here Bobby Valentine and Jim Penders talk baseball.

Here's all the information, as provided by UConn:

University of Connecticut head baseball coach Jim Penders has announced that the Huskies will host the 2012 Preseason Dinner on January 27 in the Rome Ballroom on the UConn campus. Boston Red Sox manager and Connecticut native Bobby Valentine will be featured as the keynote speaker for the evening.

UConn Baseball Preseason Dinner

Date: January 27, 2012

Time: 6:00 pm social hour, 7:00 pm dinner

Location: Rome Ballroom, University of Connecticut

Tickets: $95/person

Registration Form (PDF)

Return form to:

UConn Baseball

2111 Hillside Road, Unit 3078

Storrs, CT 06269

"We're thrilled that Connecticut's own Bobby Valentine is offering his time and effort to help our program," stated Penders. "Our coaches, student-athletes, alumni and fans are looking forward to a great night in Storrs."

Valentine, who was hired to be the 47th manager in Boston's franchise history on November 29, is a native fo Stamford, Conn., and graduated from Rippowam High School and was the first round pick, fifth overall, of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968. He made it to the big leagues at the age of 19 and stuck around for 10 major league seasons between the Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners.

Following his playing career, which ended in 1979, Valentine began coaching. He landed his first MLB managerial job midway through the 1985 season as he took over as manager of the Texas Rangers, a position he held until 1992. Valentine went on to finish the 1996 season as the manager of the New York Mets, a position he held until 2002, and led the team to its fourth National League Championship in 2000. His 1,117 career victories rank him 46th all-time in Major League Baseball and sixth amongst active managers.

From New York, Valentine moved on to Japan where he became the manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, for the second time in his coaching career, of the Pacific League. He previously managed the Marines for a brief stint in 1995 and later managed the team from 2004-2009, while in 2005 leading them to their first Japan Series win since 1974.

The dinner begins with a social hour at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner at 7:00 pm.

All proceeds benefit the University of Connecticut Baseball Stadium Enhancement Fund.

Aside from an address from Valentine, former Husky and current UConn-Avery Point head baseball coach Roger Bidwell will be honored at the event with the UConn Baseball Distinguished Alumni Award.

"I'm particularly proud to honor Roger Bidwell," Penders said. "He's a true-blue Husky who has selflessly touched countless lives during his storied career."

The dinner will also serve to honor the 2011 UConn Baseball team that won the program's first-ever BIG EAST Regular Season Championship and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals after staving off elimination in four straight games to win the Clemson Regional.

"We are going to take the opportunity to present the BIG EAST championship rings to our 2011 team and properly introduce our 2012 team just hours after our first full-squad practice of 2012. I can't wait," said Penders.

The Huskies open the 2012 season with a match-up against Indiana in the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge in St. Petersburg, Fla. on February 17. UConn returns to Storrs for its home opener against intrastate rival Yale on March 21.

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