“It’s been a long time, superstar,” beamed Dae-ho Lee, a former colleague who has gone from youngest to oldest.

“I’m a superstar now.”

After eight years, Lee Dae-ho returned to the Fukuoka PayPay Dome, home of his former team, the SoftBank Hawks. The team invited Lee to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to celebrate the 85th anniversary of its founding and the 35th anniversary of the PayPay Dome’s opening. Lee greeted fans for the first time in a long time and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the PayPay Dome on April 28.

Lee’s former teammates from the 2014 and 2015 championships appeared at the ceremonial pitch. Yuki Yanagita, the “One Club Man,” was the hitter and Akira Nakamura was the catcher.

Before the ceremony, Lee met with Nakamura and Yanagita and said, “Nakamura is the hardest working player on the team. He practiced his swing the most before the game. He can only get better as he gets older,” he said.

When asked by the press how it felt to be reunited with his old teammates, Lee said, “Yanagita, Kai (Takuya), and Nakamura were the youngest players on the team, and now they’re the main players and superstars. Seeing them as seniors made me think, ‘It’s been a long time,’” he smiled.

Lee visited the PayPay Dome on July 27, a day before the team’s event, and greeted the SoftBank team with a warm welcome. His good vibes must have rubbed off, because SoftBank picked up a valuable win when Yanakita hit a game-winning single in the 12th inning of extra innings.스포츠토토

“When (Yanagita) was warming up, we talked for a while,” Lee said. I told him to do well because I’ll be watching from the stands, and he got three hits, including the game-winning hit. “Imamiya (Genta) didn’t play because he had a cold, but when I was on active duty, I ate with Yanagita, Imamiya and others and talked a lot. I think I liked Yanagita’s performance better because I have many memories,” he laughed.

Lee then expressed his gratitude to his former coach, Koji Akiyama, whom he met by chance. “I was surprised to see him there, and when I said hello, he was so happy to see me. When I first came to SoftBank, I wasn’t performing well, but he kept believing in me and let me play in the starting lineup. I’m grateful to him, so it was nice to meet him.”

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