The Kansas City Royals’ Magical Season May Stem From Their Biggest Fan


The Kansas City Royals have had one heck of a season so far. After squeezing into the playoffs for the first time in 29 years with a berth in the Wild Card Game and then clinching said game with two insane comebacks, they went on to win Game 1 of the Division Series against the Angels last night with incredible flourishes of defense.

What’s the source of this baseball magic? It may very well stem from Sung Woo Lee, a South Korean Royals fan. Lee had never visited the U.S. before until the team actually flew him out August. A fan of the Royals since the ’90s, Lee became an active member of the Royals fans’ online community, and local fans launched a campaign to fly him out. He even got to throw out a ceremonial first pitch and was also showered with gifts and barbecue tailgate feasts.

In Lee’s first game at the Royal’s Kauffman Stadium, they showed him on the enormous jumbotron in the middle of the fifth inning. The very next batter, Alex Gordon, hit a home run to break a scoreless tie and put the Royals ahead. That was part of an eight-game winning streak that began the day Lee landed in Kansas City. Fast forward to the end of September, and the Royals were in the playoffs.

“We talked with him last Friday night when we clinched a playoff appearance and we were all in tears,” said Chris Kamler, who first invited Lee to Missouri. “He was on local radio the other day and said he feels ‘homesick,’ which is a huge credit to how much we all love him here and he loves Kansas City.”

Not to jinx anything, but if the Royals do make the World Series, Kamler said there were fans who would “throw money” at Lee for him to fly back and attend a game.

Lee wasn’t able to attend Tuesday’s Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics this week, but what happened that night is pretty insane. In the bottom of the ninth, with the Royals down a run and three outs away from elimination, the Royals’ jumbotron showed a couple of fans who had unfurled a large South Korean flag. The 40,000 fans in attendence hoped for more magic from Sung Woo Lee.

The Royals went on to tie the game in that inning. After going down a run in the 12th, they came back again and then walked-off against the A’s to win the game.

Here’s another Korean coincidence for the Royals. Kansas City last won the World Series in 1985. The last time the South Korean team won the Little League World Series before winning it this year was 1985. Magic, or insanity?

Who knows? It’s baseball, so perhaps a bit of both.

The Royals will go at it against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim again in Game 2 of the American League Division Series tonight in Southern California.

Image via ABC News