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Homerun King Lee Seung-yeop Is Excited

Posted January. 25, 2004 23:04,   


Lee Seung-yeop, (28-year-old, Chiba Lotte Marines) was a bit excited.

He was like an elementary student waiting for a picnic. Not only an excited but also a worried look about rain ruining the picnic appeared on his face.

He said in an interview before leaving for Japan at Incheon Airport on January 25, “I am excited because I have never left Taegu and lived abroad,” confessing, “It was hard to calm down my feelings while I spent time with my elders during the holiday.” Lee Seung-yeop, showing his determination with his short cut hair, promised by saying, “I will make every effort with the attitude of a rookie” as he boarded an airplane, accompanied by an agent Kim Ki-joo and a translator Lee Dong-hoon.

A close friend of Lee, comedian Kim Je-dong, came to see Lee off. Lee’s wife Lee Song-jeong didn’t join Lee in order to take care of moving.

-What is your current physical situation?

“I feel good because I started physical training earlier than in the previous years. I will also adapt myself soon in Japan.”

-What results did you have after you’ve looked into Japanese pitchers?

“They have excellent control and can throw balls which appear as strikes. I will shorten my swing since their curves are great, and they throw low pitches well.”

-Who do you think is the best pitcher?

“Of course it’s Matsuzaka (Seibu Lions). I have beat him before, but it’s different now. He has become more perfect with his pitch speed and control. It’s going to be tough to take on him.”

-Coach Valentine said that it can’t be assured that you will be a starter…

“A professional player will be dismissed if he is of no worth. I was the best in Korea, but I haven’t shown anything yet in Japan. I will do my best to be a starter with the attitude of a new player.”

-How was your New Year holiday?

“I rested at home and did the New Year’s greetings to the elders. My father gave me 100,000 won as New Year’s gift money.”

-Why did you wear glasses?

“I want to look intellectual (as he smiled)…”

-You are not coming to Korea for a while. What do you want to say before you head for Japan?

“Playing in Japan will be the turning point of my career. I feel responsible for performing well.”

Lee Seung-yeop, arriving at Japan, attracted huge interest by the Japanese press on the day and will begin training at Chiba Lotte Marines Stadium from January 26.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com