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The Battle of the "Lee"s Begins

Posted October. 18, 2007 03:17,   


Play ball!

Lee Seung-yeop (31) of Yomiuri and Lee Byeong-gyu (33) of Junichi are set to face-off in their Nippon Professional Baseball match up on October 18.

Yomiuri and Junichi will duke it out in a five-game series at the Tokyo Dome to be hailed as champs of the Central League. Yomiuri aims to make it to the Japan Series for the first time in the five years since 2002, while Junichi aims to make a back to back debut.

This will be the first time that two Korean hitters will go head to head during the autumn post-season games in Japan. Lee Seung-yeop tasted championship success with Lotte during the 2005 Japan Series, while Lee Byoung-kyu is fortunate to be making a post-season debut in his first season in Japan.

Lee Byoung-kyu trailed Lee Seung-yeop in personal statistics during the regular season, but he intends to turn things around in the post-season. Lee Byoung-kyu led his team to victory with three home runs during games one and two of the pre-playoff series.

Lee Seung-yeop is also set to pave the way for his team, just as he has proved his worth by fulfilling his obligations as the team’s clean-up hitter during the regular season.

During a team practice session on October 16, Lee Seung-yeop proved his remarkable conditioning for the playoffs with a huge solo home run that reached the stadium’s left-field fence. Lee displayed confidence in saying that his vision and reaction time is at an optimum level and that he can pull a full swing at will.

However, Tyrone Woods of Junichi quickly rebutted Lee’s statements, claiming that a home run is twice as easy to hit at the Tokyo Dome as its outfield is slightly smaller.

Woods added that he aims to hit a decisive home run that will take his team to the Japan Series. This clearly marked the beginning of the pre-game war of words between the two teams.

Although fans were anticipating Lee Seung-yeop to return Woods’ verbal fire during the October 17 press conference, it was cancelled due to Lee’s back problems. It was reported that Lee received physiotherapy at the hospital on the day.

Coach Kim Ki-tae of Yomiuri said, “It’s a minor injury and Lee will be playing on the 18th.” Veteran slugger Lee Seung-yeop now has three forces to reckon with: Lee Byoung-kyu, Woods and his injury.