“It’s a miracle I made it up here!”
The face of former coach Mansoo “Hulk” Lee was full of smiles after a long absence.
The Laos national baseball team, led by former coach Lee Mansoo, held its first local training session at the second pitch of the Xiaoxing Baseball Sports and Culture Center in Hangzhou, China, on the 29th.
The head coach is Kim Hyun-min, former head coach of Jin Young Go. Lee Mansoo himself was the coach, not the head of the team. He held on to each player and worked on detailed hitting techniques.
As Lee had always said, the Lao players were young and slender. Their lack of baseball experience was evident in the way they practiced. “When we make players, they quit to make a living. Most of them have only played for one or two years,” he lamented.
But Laos managed to pull off the miracle of qualifying for the Asian Games with such an inexperienced team. They lost to Thailand 1-4, but beat Singapore 8-7 to finish second in their group. The team has come a long way from the 0-15 demolition of Thailand in their first outing in Jakarta-Palembang. It was a miracle worthy of the 10 years Lee has spent since 2014 trying to promote baseball in Laos.
Realistically, the next step is difficult. Laos is in Group A with Japan, China, and the Philippines.
“I wish we could have met Korea, but from now on it’s a cold game,” Lee laughed. But amidst the jokes and laughter, Lee’s pride and satisfaction at seeing his players like his own children was palpable.
In the future, he hopes to spread baseball across the entire Indochina Peninsula. Lee has sown the seeds of baseball in Laos, and it is just beginning.
On the same day, Lee also had the pleasure of meeting Ryu Joong-il, who leads the South Korean national team. The original Samsung Lions member and the 1987 first-round pick are both in their fifth year in the organization.메이저사이트
Ryu said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. First of all, congratulations on the first win in Laos, and congratulations on your first appearance in the Asian Games,” Liu said, adding, “We talked about old times and had a great time.” He chuckled.