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Royals fan from Korea gets royal treatment in Kansas City

August 7, 2014

Lee Sung-woo to throw out the first pitch on Monday

Sung Woo Lee, center, speaks to the local media after arriving at Kansas City International Airport Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Lee is a Kanas City Royals fan from South Korea and came to Kansas City to see his first Royals game. He will see five games and throw out the first pitch on Monday (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Brian Davidson)

Sung Woo Lee, center, speaks to the local media after arriving at Kansas City International Airport Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Lee is a Kanas City Royals fan from South Korea and came to Kansas City to see his first Royals game. He will see five games and throw out the first pitch on Monday (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Brian Davidson)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A South Korean man who has been a Kansas City Royals fan since the 1990s has finally made a trip to the city, where his week long itinerary includes five games at Kauffman Stadium, including on Monday when he is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

Sung Woo Lee arrived from Seoul on Tuesday and was met by a welcoming committee of Royals fans who have been communicating with him on Twitter for years and urged him to make the trip, The Kansas City Star reported.

He also was met by a horde of camera crews, fellow fans and curious bystanders who cheered as he made his way through the gate wearing a Royals jersey.

“It’s surreal and overwhelming to be here,” Lee said. “I didn’t expect the crowd and media like this. I’m not sure I deserve it, but I’m really happy to come here to Kansas City and see some Royals games in person.”

The schedule for his weeklong stay includes the Royals games; a Kansas City Chiefs preseason game; a trip to Springdale, Arkansas, to see the Royals’ Class AA affiliate Northwest Arkansas Naturals; and, perhaps the biggest highlight, throwing out the first pitch Monday at Kauffman Stadium before the game with the Oakland A’s.

“My wife and family will not believe this,” Lee said.

The itinerary was sent up by his welcoming committee that consisted of Chris Kamler, Dave Darby, Kevin Robinson, Ethan Bryan and Jeff Huerter, all Royals fans who knew Lee from Twitter chats during games.

Kamler said Lee tweets with fans during games despite the 14-hour time difference. Lee emailed Kamler about six weeks ago, saying he was finally going to make the trip.

It’s not easy to watch every Royals game, Lee said, because the weekday night games often are on while he’s working. On weekends, he wakes up in the middle of the night to watch.

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