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Lotte of Japan Proposes to Lee Seung-yeop, But He is Indifferent

Lotte of Japan Proposes to Lee Seung-yeop, But He is Indifferent

Posted November. 28, 2003 23:39,   


27-year old Lee Seung-yeop will head to Japan on November 30, only three days after his trip to the U.S.

The trip’s official purpose is for his appearance on Japanese TV. It was previously planned that he would appear on Nippon TV’s baseball program.

However, his visit to Japan stirs interest for another reason. The representative for the owner of Lotte Chiba Marines of the Japanese pro-baseball league, Shin Dong-bin (the 48-year old vice president of Lotte Group), proclaimed on November 27, “I will discuss with coach Bobby Valentine to consider having Lee Seung-yeop join the team.” Mr. Shin added, “Lee Seung-yeop is a good player. I will share our opinions with the coach and then inquire Lee directly about his availability.”

Daily sports newspapers in Japan covered the news boldly with a title of “Lotte Drives For a Lee Seung-yeop Contract” on November 28. Nikkan Sports covered the event with headlines, “Lotte Chiba Marines Investigates for the Signing of Lee Seung-yeop.”

It is just a coincidence that Lee Seung-yeop is now going to Japan.

Regarding this, Lee Seung-yeop explained saying, “I knew the fact that the owner of Lotte Chiba Marines was interested in me through a newspaper report. This visit to Japan is to appear on Nippon TV, scheduled for December 3. I have made no plans to meet the representatives of the Japanese baseball team as of yet.”

He also commented, “I will not be accompanied by my wife this time. Kim Dong-joon (the CEO of JS Entertainment), who is in charge of domestic management, will join me because I have an appearance on TV.”

Lee Seung-yeop, in his homecoming interview, confirmed, “I don’t envision that I will relocate to Japan or go back to Samsung” However, he may not be able to remain impassive if Lotte Chiba Marines woos him actively. The Marines signed coach Valentine to a three year-$10 million contract (about 12 billion won), an exceptional amount for a coach.

Lee Seung-yeop said, “In fact, there are many people who have urged me to play in Japan.” It is obvious that he will be tempted many times during this visit. Now, even Japan has taken part in the scouting of “the home run king.” This is good news for Lee Seung-yeop.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com