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Posted : 2014-08-07 21:21
Updated : 2014-08-07 21:30

KC rolls out red carpet for Korean Royals super-fan

Lee Sung-woo, an obsessed Kansas City Royals fan from Korea, poses at the pub inside the stadium in Missouri after he was invited by the team to see his first Royals game in person. / Photo from Lee's Tweeter

By Kim Tong-hyung


To be a Kansas City Royals fans is to know pain and suffering. The team hasn't reached the postseason since winning the World Series in 1985, which represents the longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball.

Let's go out on a limb and say that being a Royals supporter in Korea is even worse. The games are never shown on local television because the Royals would never overpay for Choo Shin-soo. Your fan experience is reduced to following tweets, ESPN updates and squinting at tiny Internet videos during the oppressive morning work hours.

But the unfriendly circumstances have failed to prevent Lee Sung-woo from becoming a Royals super-fan in Yongin, a sleepy city in the outskirts of Seoul. Lee has religiously followed the Royals since the 1990s because of players such as George Brett and Frank White.

He is a beloved presence among baseball fans on Twitter for his positive attitude and optimism, which are not always what you could expect from a Royals fan.

His American friends on the Internet had called Lee the best Royals fan who never saw a game in person. That is about to change, thanks to a group of Royals supporters in Kansas City, who have invited Lee to their city for an experience of a lifetime.

Lee's friends plan to take him around the city's tourist destinations, including the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the National World War I Museum and the iconic Boulevard Brewery. A lavish dinner is planned for Lee at Arthur Bryant's, one of the most famous barbeque restaurants in America.

The highlight of Lee's trip will come next Monday when the Royals will have him throw out the first pitch in a game against the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium.

After tweeting "Now I will be on board with @Royals blue, which @DaveDarby46 once sent me!! You guys can find me easily @KCIAirport!" from the Incheon International Airport, Lee arrived in Kansas City on Thursday (KST).

Lee seemed shocked over the massive attention he was getting from people and the media in Kansas City, saying "I am not sure I deserve this." His American friends threw him a welcoming party and they watched the Royals defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-2 together at a bar.

관련 한글 기사

캔자스시티 로열스 골수 한국팬 극진 대접

미국프로야구 캔자스시티 로열즈의 미국 팬들이 한국에서 온 골수팬을 극진대접하고 있어 화제다.

사연의 주인공은 용인에 사는 이성우 씨.

그는 90년대 중반부터 조지 브렛 선수 등에 반해 캔자스시티의 팬이 되었고 인터넷을 통해 로열스의 경기를 거의 빠짐없이 본다. 트위터에선 이미 가장 유명한 로열스팬 중 하나다. 하지만 로열스의 경기를 직접 본 적은 없다.

그가 인터넷에서 사귄 캔자스시티 현지의 팬들은 뜻을 모아 이씨를 초청, 로열스의 경기를 홈구장인 카우푸만 스타디움에서 볼 수 있는 기회를 만들었다. 이씨는 현지시간으로 5일 캔자스시티에 도착, 현지 언론의 높은 관심을 받았다.

그를 초청한 미국인 팬들은 맥주집에서 환영만찬을 열고 TV로 로열스가 애리조나 다이아몬드 백스를 12-2로 꺽는 것을 같이 보며 즐겼다.

이씨는 캔자스시티에 있는 니그로 리그(흑인들의 메이저리그 참가가 제한된 시절 열린 흑인만의 리그) 박물관, 세계 1차대전 박물관 등 지역 명소들을 관광할 예정이다.

7일에는 캔자스시티의 홈구장인 커프만 스타디움 투어를 갖는다. 그리고 옆에 있는 애로우헤드 스타디움에서 프로미식축구 팀인 캔자스시티 치프스의 프리시즌 경기를 관람한다.

9일에는 대망의 본 경기를 관람한다. 그는 카우프만 스타디움에서 열리는 샌프란시스코 자이언츠와 캔자스시티의 경기에 앞서 시구도 가질 예정이다.



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