“I’m looking forward to standing on the mound at Fenway Park in Boston,” says Seoul’s Lee Chan-sol of different dream sizes.

He was clearly a first-round pick in the 2024 KBO Draft. However, his dreams were different. The United States, the land of opportunity and the land of underdogs, was more of a challenge for him. Lee Chansol, a Seoul High School pitcher who wears a Boston Red Sox uniform, is the protagonist of a different dream.

In 11 official games (20 innings) in 2023, Lee went 3-0 with a 6.30 ERA, 31 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 1.75 WHIP. On the surface, these numbers are a bit disappointing, but there’s no question that Lee has the stuff. He was praised for being a real resource with a fastball in the mid-150km/h range, not a so-called fringe pitch.

Instead of going to the KBO, where he was guaranteed a certain amount of success, Lee decided to take on the challenge of the major leagues, where he would have to compete with a number of international prospects. The Boston Red Sox recognized his potential and moved quickly to sign him. Lee himself toured the Red Sox’ training facility in Florida, USA, and expressed that he has no regrets about his decision. MK Sports spoke to Lee about his mindset when it comes to dreams of different sizes.

It must have been a difficult decision to take on the major league challenge, what made you decide to do so?

I wasn’t thinking about going to the United States from the beginning. After the Golden Lion Tournament, a scout from Boston suddenly came to the school and offered me a contract. From then on, I seriously thought about going to the United States. I was about half and half, but people kept recommending me to go to the US. I decided it would be better for me to grow up in the U.S. than in Korea.

What kind of roadmap did the Boston club give you?

The scout told me that he saw strengths in my athleticism and pitching mechanics. I heard that your fastball was up to 156 km/h this year. He said that the combination of a hard fastball and a splitter would be a great fit. Now that I’m in the Rookie League, I’m going to go through database measurement training and get more precise direction.

I heard that you traveled to the United States and toured the training facility.

It’s a Rookie League facility, and I don’t think it could be any better. It’s a great environment to work out and grow as a baseball player. The officials, coaches, and players who were already there were very welcoming. I felt like I could adapt faster than I thought I could.

They say “soggy bread” is a thing of the past in the minor leagues. I hear you have a very organized diet.

When I was in the States, I always ate breakfast and lunch in the team cafeteria. They have a menu that alternates between American and Latin American food, with a main dish of meat or fish. Basically, there were about eight different options, and they had really good salads and fruit on the side. I felt like I was going to get fat if I ate too much (laughs).

His parents’ decision to send him to the United States alone must have been difficult.

My dad was more supportive of the major league challenge. My mom agreed with my choice, but she secretly wanted me to stay in Korea. I think she was worried about me going to the U.S. alone, but I told her that it would be okay because I could come to Korea after the Rookie League season and build up my body.

It’s also important to communicate in English, so are you learning to speak English?

I went to school in the U.S. for about three months before. I felt like I could speak English because of my experience and the English I learned in school. Now, when I go to the U.S., I’m going to learn English tutors and interpreters.

I should get help from my seniors who went to the US first.

(Choi) Hyun-il, a senior at my school, contacted my brother once and asked him a lot of questions about life in America. I know that Shim Jun-seok is in Florida, and Jang Hyun-seok can come here, so it would be fun to be close to him. We can help each other and feel a sense of rivalry.

There’s also the pride of being a part of the prestigious Boston Red Sox team.

The atmosphere of the organization itself is very special. Officials and players alike seem to have a lot of pride in the team, so they care more about the internal team atmosphere, behavior, and rules. I didn’t get to go to Fenway Park this time, but I definitely want to next time.

The thought of standing on the mound at Fenway Park, Boston’s home stadium, gives me goosebumps.

I’m sure I’ll be working out with my heart set on it. Recently, I heard that there are many players who are promoted directly from Double-A to the major leagues. If I’m lucky, I’ll be in the major leagues in three to four years, maybe five.

It would be a dream matchup to face Darvish (San Diego) and Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) at Fenway Park, both of whom I consider role models.

(I hope to play against them at least once in my life, especially Darvish, he’s such a role model and idol. I would love to see his face on the field.

I heard that you had great support around you during the contracting process. I would like to express my gratitude.

First of all, I would like to thank Heejin Park from Brion Company who helped me through the contract process, which was very complicated. I would also like to thank Eunsa from the middle school baseball team and Jungmin Yoo from Seoul High School who convinced me to challenge the major leagues. Most of all, I would like to thank my parents, who have been very supportive, and I think I made a choice that I will never regret. I am grateful to the many people around me who have helped me.안전놀이터

I’m sure your peers at school have expressed their envy.

Even after hearing that, I still can’t say that it’s a truly enviable choice. I’m just a rookie starting out on the professional stage like everyone else, just on a different path. In the end, it’s only when I succeed on that stage that it becomes an enviable choice. I want to show good results so that I won’t be criticized for making the wrong choice.

You are considered a one-two punch in the team with your schoolmate Jeon Jun-pyo. Do you have any words of encouragement for him?

(He has a great feel for changeups and can throw all four pitches for strikes. His velocity is fast, so he’s good at controlling his delivery to keep hitters off balance. I believe he can be a first-round pick out of the rookie class because he’s so good. I have no doubt that he can be really good in the pros. I hope we both succeed and that we can meet each other on the WBC team in the future.

Finally, what message would you like to give to the baseball fans who support Lee in a Boston uniform?

I don’t know how long it will take, but I would like to say that I will do my best to make my major league mound debut without losing my focus. I hope you will wait patiently for the day when I stand on the mound at Fenway Park and throw a ball. I will grow into a pitcher who will represent Korean baseball in Boston.

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