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Slugger Lee Makes Triumphant Return

Posted November. 17, 2006 06:55,   


In 2004, Lee Seung-yeop (30) looked depressed as he returned to Korea at the airport with his wife Lee Song-jeong after he finished his first season in Japan. Under the platoon system of the Lotte Marines, Lee had lost his chance to play in many games. During a press meeting at the time, he said, “I am grateful that so many of you came to interview this poor baseball player.”

After finishing 2005 with 30 homers, he looked happier and showed up at the airport in a suit together with his wife and son, Eun-hyeok. He said, “I’m glad that I came back more proudly this time.”

On November 16, Lee’s face was glowing with composure and confidence after he spent a season as the best hitter on Yomiuri and hit the jackpot of 3 billion yen (roughly 24 billon won) for four years in his recent contract. Unlike the last two years, he dressed himself casually with a cap, jacket and a torn pair of jeans. His son Eun-hyeok, who had his first birthday in August, has grown a lot too.

Lee smiled as he said, “I’m surprised with this big crowd of reporters and bodyguards. It seems that my status has enhanced remarkably in a year.”

There was even more. For the last two years, he has held his press meetings informally, standing in the airport’s lobby. This time, he offered a formal one in the convention center at Gimpo Airport, which he rented.

Lee said, “I feel more comfortable now than last year in that I’ve already concluded my destination for the next season with a very satisfactory contract. After greeting my parents, I want to get some really hot and salty Korean food.”

Regarding his goal for his next season, he answered, “I have no greed for personal titles. Nevertheless, compared to what I recorded in home runs and hits, I think my RBIs were insufficient. I want 120 RBIs next year.”

After the interview, Lee headed for Daegu. On November 17 he will come back to Seoul to meet his relatives and friends. On November 22 he will fly back to Japan to take part in a club event. Then he will come back again on November 25 and concentrate on training in Seoul and Daegu until late January next year.