If you’re not familiar with the story of Sungwoo Lee, well, you’re probably on the wrong website. Click the big blue book on the right and pay $10 to read all about it. Then come back here and you’ll be mostly caught up. Since then it’s just been a lot of fart jokes.
But for those who watched, tweeted, tailgated with, asked for selfies, or simply lived through the famed summer of 2014, you’ll no doubt agree that the inspiring story of the magic of baseball and taking chances stuck with you just as it stuck with me. Sungwoo Lee took a chance on some goofy pen pal friends who followed a crazy baseball team – often tweeting with them in the middle of the Korean night. He decided to come to Kansas City because of the grainy images he saw of Kauffman Stadium and the fountains and the rare Jeff King home run with the fireworks and all of it. His visit helped crush a 29 year pox and propel his favorite baseball team to the World Series.
To say those of us close to Sungwoo have become lifelong friends is to minimize the word friendship. He has become a brother – one who just happens to live 6,515 miles away.
Since his trips to Kansas City in August for the viral phenomenon culminating into a winner-take-all-best-game-of-my-or-anyone-else’s-lifetime Wild Card game, and then again for the World Series, (And who knows… maybe even a movie??) Sungwoo has kept in touch with hundreds of us through Twitter. And for some of us, that conversation has continued in DM’s and SnapChat.
Nearly every morning, I’d wake up to a tweet or a Snap of a Korean palace, a bustling market, or a busy street in downtown Seoul with the words “When you come to Korea, I will show you this!”
— Sungwoo Lee (@Koreanfan_KC) November 18, 2016
Thanks to some extra vacation, Dave Darby and I are finally taking the plunge and going to visit our friend in Seoul this weekend. The visit will be guaranteed to be way lower profile than Sungwoo’s first visit to Kansas City in 2014, but it is likely to create just as many memories.
The deal breaker was the fact that we could structure the trip around baseball. The first round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic is in Seoul next week and we’ve got tickets to see a couple games. (Go Team NED)
True to the spirit of Sungwoo’s first visit, we’ve done very little preparation, I’ve learned next to no Korean, and it will be a miracle if we can even find our hotel. But fuck it. You only live once and this is a perfect bookend to the trip.
So get ready Seoul… See you on Saturday.
(Save me some Poop Cake)
Poop cake from Korea. 😀 pic.twitter.com/JNAacZwnWe
— 경리리 (@hlennn) December 7, 2015
[Featured Image – Sungwoo Lee visits Kauffman Stadium for the first time. August 7, 2014. Photo by Chris Kamler]