(By Yoon Seo Park, Xports News) “I want to continue to have a relationship with him in the future.”
Lee Dae-ho and his former team, the SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball, have reconnected. Lee visited the Fukuoka PayPay Dome, SoftBank’s home stadium, on Nov. 27 and 28.
After being invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at SoftBank’s home game on the 28th, Lee met with the team for the first time in eight years at the 먹튀검증 PayPay Dome on the 27th, a day before the team’s event.
He was greeted by Yuki Yanagita, Akira Nakamura, Takuya Kai, and Yuito Mori, who are now veterans of the team. He also spoke for the first time with former SoftBank manager Koji Akiyama, who coached Lee in his first year with the team, and retired hitting coach Yuya Hasegawa.
Nakamura and Yanagita, in particular, came out to greet Lee as he took the field. Nakamura told reporters, “He hasn’t changed. I was very happy to see him,” Nakamura said, adding, “It was great to play together in the same team.”
Nakamura had previously played against Lee in the 2015 Premier12. When asked about it, he said, “He was a very strong player. I’m so glad we’re on the same team. I don’t want to play against him,” he laughed.
Nakamura was the catcher for Lee’s ceremonial first pitch. When asked about his experience, Nakamura said, “I’ve never played catcher before, so I’m glad I got to catch the ball. I’m very happy just to receive a superstar ball, and I think it will be a good memory.”
Yanagita, who had the longest conversation with Lee, said, “I was very happy to see him yesterday after a long time. He helped me a lot when I was growing up. He was a good player that I could always get close to,” he said, adding, “I remember the home run he hit when I was a player.” He expressed his admiration.
Last year, Yanagita appeared in the All-Star Game video that kicked off Lee’s retirement tour and sent him a congratulatory message. He said, “I was very happy to be asked. I was very happy to be asked,” he said.
Yanagita opted out of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) to focus on the regular season. Naturally, a meeting with WBC commentator Dae-ho Lee fell through. “I was disappointed that I couldn’t go to the WBC,” Yanagita said, “but I want to leave a good mark on the regular season, and I hope to continue our relationship in the future.