“I’m too good to go” Lotte’s ‘momentum’ surprised even Lee Dae-ho, will 31-year championship dream come true?
Lee Dae-ho, 41, who retired from active duty last season, cheered on the Lotte Giants’ juniors, who are on a roll this season.
Lotte is third in the league with a 26-16 record and a .619 winning percentage this season. They are two games back of first-place LG (30-1, 16-0), which is good enough for a first-place finish. For Lotte, whose last postseason appearance was six years ago (2017) and last Korean Series title was 31 years ago (1992), this is a golden opportunity.
Lee Dae-ho, the franchise star of Lotte, ended his playing career with a bang last season with a retirement tour and was invited by SoftBank, where he played in 2014 and 2015, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Fukuoka PayPay Dome in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, on April 28. Lee won the Japan Series championship both years he played for SoftBank and was named Japan Series MVP in 2015.
“SoftBank is the team that allowed me to enjoy the thrill of winning,” Lee said in an interview on Aug. 28. “They are a very prepared team, and their baseball fans are just as passionate and supportive as our Lotte fans. It’s a very good team. It’s a team that allows players to dedicate themselves to baseball, and I think that’s why they’re always at the top,” he said, referring to his two years at SoftBank.
For Lee, Lotte is an indispensable team, and even though they didn’t end up winning the Korean Series, the juniors have done a great job leading the team since Lee’s departure.
“I can’t go because Lotte is doing so well,” Lee laughed, “I’m worried because I don’t want to be a burden. When they’re doing well, it’s better for me to stay out 스포츠토토 of the picture, but I’m always cheering them on. He won yesterday. I’m always watching, and (Han) Dong-hee, (Kim) Won-joong, they’re all on the phone, telling me they’re doing well,” he said, cheering on the Lotte juniors.
For the first time in a long time, Lotte is looking to make the postseason. “If we make it to the postseason, we have to go,” Lee said, “but there’s also the pressure of not losing if I go. I’m supposed to be a victory fairy, but intuitively, I feel like I’m to blame if they lose, so I’m cheering hard from the sidelines. Anyway, it looks really good right now. I hope I can do better, and I hope Lotte can win the title,” she said, wishing Lotte the best.