[EDITORIALS]Hail to the sluggerLee Seung-yeop has once again proven himself a national slugger.
He broke the 39-year-old Asian record for home runs in a single season, a record set by Japan’s Sadaharu Oh in 1964. His 56th homer ― until a new challenger breaks it ― will remain in the hearts of baseball fans as a new record of dreams and aspiration.
Or forever unbroken, it may go down as a baseball legend to be cherished forever by posterity.
On a clear autumn evening two nights ago, he sent the ball over the fence with a nice crack from his bat. Fans in the stadium and fans watching on television rose up in joy and passion.
The fact that he hit the record-breaking homer on the last game of the season, on the brink, multiplied the jubilation, and turned the game into a festival.
It was a feat that washed away the tedious political fighting, the foggy economic landscape ahead and the pain of the devastation from Typhoon Maemi.
It is irrefutable that he delivered a message to the Korean people that dreams do come true and hopes are worth harboring.
Lee Seung-yeop was able to break the record because of his excellent flexibility and his judgment call in hitting the ball correctly at the right moment. As a player who does not smoke or drink, he was able to rewrite world baseball history with his industriousness, with 300 home runs at the age of 27.
He should not stop his long march at this juncture. We hope that his personal record of 324 home runs will lead to a new world record, not just an Asian record.
We sincerely hope that he advances to the U.S. major leagues ― the daunting field of dreams for professional baseball players that has tugged at his heart ― and prove his talent and value as a world player.
We anticipate a splash of a transformation. If he can remain cool and collected, shut out the evaluations of his performance, and surmount competition and hardship in the U.S. major leagues, Lee Seung-yeop could write a new baseball history as he continues on as a Korean national hero.