A nice story about baseball
August 11, 2014 10:32 PM   Subscribe

Baseball writer Rany Jazayerli tells us about his online acquaintance Sung Woo Lee, fan of the Kansas City Royals, who is having a good week. He's been a Royals fan since the 1990s and this week, he came to the US to see them play for the first time. KC rolled out the red carpet and the Royals are even winning.

Here he talks about how he came to be a Royals fan in the first place.

Now I can’t tell why… just like many of you, Royals fans, I was sort of… underdog lover? sympathy? With more research & understanding of glorious Royals 70-80′s, I much more liked Royals. It was much more thrilled Royals beat big market teams rather than big market teams win against weak teams.
posted by LobsterMitten (16 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
And there's a hashtag for his trip - #SungWooToKC.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:43 PM on August 11, 2014

This is the best and the timing couldn't be more perfect. KC on top of the AL Central and now some team exposure from an international fan turned Twitter phenomenon. Baseball people, baseball.
posted by FiveNines at 10:45 PM on August 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I went to a game in Anaheim a couple years back to see the Yankees play the Angels. The friend I was going with flaked out, per LA custom, so one of the nice gentlemen in the parking lot bought my extra ticket for more than enough to keep me in hot dogs and beer.

The kid that bought my extra ticket had flown all the way from Japan just to see Ichiro--if you're not a baseball fan, Ichiro is such a legend in Japan that his agent has said you can just mail him a letter with "Ichiro" as the address and it'll find its way to him, or so the story goes--and spoke very little English, but was delighted to regale the nest of Yankees fans in my section with tales of Ichiro's prowess, most of which I'd heard, but when a dude is that excited and happy and talking, you just let him go. And he chattered away for most of the game.

Ichiro finally got substituted out and he hopped up and bowed to all of us in the section and thanked us for letting him see the legend play and have the greatest day of his life, then wandered off.


On a sappy but more amusing note, the drunk girls the next row down hollering at/heckling Mike Trout for nine straight innings about what a great ass he has were also very baseball.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:23 PM on August 11, 2014 [14 favorites]

My team is looking a bit rocky and just lost to the Royals. My team still has the best record in baseball, but it did occur to me that it's probably an amazing time to be a Royals fan! Plus a very baseball backflip.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:29 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Baseball. That's a wonderful story, whip.

Meanwhile the LA Kings announced today they would be retiring that turncoat Rob Blake's number 4 this upcoming season.


posted by notyou at 11:31 PM on August 11, 2014

Thank you LobsterMitten for ending my day with baseball! And a story about a valiant fan and an underdog team just warms the cockles of my heart. I needed this post to set the world right again after such a sad news day as Monday. Also, who doesn't love Ichiro, whip? That's also a great cockle-warming story. Yes, baseball.
posted by Anitanola at 11:43 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Awesome story. Thanks, LobsterMitten.

Speaking of baseball, I'm right now watching from my kitchen table as the crowd files into Mazda Stadium, home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, getting ready for a 6 pm start against the Yakult Swallows.

Tangential at best, I know. But I just went out to the balcony to catch a snapshot of the stands filling up and what do you know, I got photobombed by two shinkansen bullet trains at once.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:56 AM on August 12, 2014 [7 favorites]

I was thinking last night, September is going to be *insane* this year.

I know there are some sports whose fans proselytize to the hilt for it, explaining to all who will listen why it's so awesome and why you must become a fan. My experience has been that baseball fans can't be bothered. If you can't tell why it's an awesome game, why waste my time. Either you get it or you don't. There's baseball on.
posted by dry white toast at 5:00 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

That was a great story - put a smile on my face to start the day.

I'm a Red Sox fan, and we were living overseas when I was of the age to start understanding baseball. One of my first memories of life, and my very first memory of baseball, is sleeping on the living room floor in a sleeping bag listening to the Red Sox get crushed by the Royals in 1974ish.

I've always had a bit of the soft spot for the Royals because of that.
posted by COD at 5:47 AM on August 12, 2014

mlb.com article.
posted by gaspode at 6:33 AM on August 12, 2014

Love this story. It is part of what makes the baseball season so great.

Back a while, when I lived in Chicago, there was a gentleman recently emigrated from China who worked with us. With the bosses approval, we were going to take the afternoon off to catch a Cubbie game. So we all went. Thing was this Chinese man had never been to a game although he said he watched a little bit on tv to help his English skills. So we were drinking beer and trying to explain pretty much every pitch, every play, every tradition (Ivy walls). By about the fifth inning, our entire section had joined in in trying to explain baseball to a 30 year old man who was learning it for the first time. I have to say it was an odd thing as we all grew up playing and things that were second nature to us were novel to him.

Things went along swimmingly as we drank beer, root root rooted for the Cubbies and explained things like a double play. Swimmingly that is until the infield fly rule was invoked. Maybe it was the beer, maybe just the nuances of the rule, but we could not adequately explain the rule. He just kept saying he did not get it. This went on for about 15 minutes with us futilely trying to explain. Maybe another beer would help. So we drank another beer. Nope.

Finally, a man sitting two rows behind us who had been talking and yelling the whole game with a terrific Chicago accent that would have made Mike Ditka proud, said he wanted to try. So, he looks at our colleague and said about three sentences in what appeared to be perfect Chinese. Our work mate just looked at us and said, "I understand now." We were stunned this man knew enough English to explain much less Chinese.

We were too drunk to find out what that Northsider had said or even if what he said was actual Chinese, but we sure did have fun out at the old ball game.
posted by 724A at 6:41 AM on August 12, 2014 [11 favorites]

There is something weird about being a Royals fan. I was a child when George Brett retired and they have always been two years away from the playoffs my entire life. I'm trying to not get my hopes up, there's a lot of season left.
posted by dismas at 6:41 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I know, dismas. I'm also a child of the George Brett (and my personal favorite Willie Wilson) era and at this point I feel pleased when they manage to finish a season over .500, which is a pretty low bar for success.
posted by something something at 6:56 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pirates fan here. I feel your pain, Royals fans, and are rooting for you.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:58 AM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

In 90′s, when I was middle school student, I started to watch AFKN (American Forces Korean Network) for my English. But most of Drama, News and even Sesami street were too difficult for me to start learning English. Only sports broadcast was understandable…
Sports. Simpler than Sesami Street.
posted by stbalbach at 7:57 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

A few months ago now I found myself in Kansas City on a beautiful Friday evening, not knowing a soul and not having a plan after being dumped by the girl with whom I was supposed to attend a wedding out there that weekend. I ended up walking a million blocks from my hotel to some generic bar in Westport to find some food. The Royals were hosting the Orioles that evening and the game was on every TV in the place. I didn't really give a shit about baseball but it's not like I had anything else to do so I settled in for dinner and a beer or two.

Danny Duffy, the Royals' starting pitcher that game, was perfect through 6 or 7. Word was going around, more people were coming in to have a beer and watch some history being made, and I kept finding new barmates who between pitches would ask me all about myself and why I was in town. Occasionally they would buy me a beer, which was super nice of course, but what I appreciated the most was just being able to sit and have a fucking conversation with somebody (not something I, morose from the breakup plus being naturally introverted anyway, was especially counting on happening that weekend). I didn't even care that it was about baseball. These wonderful strangers were a bright spot in an otherwise completely shitty weekend for me, and I am super grateful for it.

Duffy lost his perfect game in the 7th but the beer and the conversation still flowed. Then Ned Yost, the Royals' manager, got ejected in the 9th for arguing balls and strikes. The home plate umpire pointed his finger to the sky and the bar erupted into cheers, and there I was cheering right along with them. The game wrapped up pretty uneventfully after that and I tottered back to my hotel. But I learned two things that night: the first is that it takes six beers and an ejection to turn me into a baseball fan. The second is that KC is a hell of a friendly city full of wonderful people. I still don't really give a shit about baseball, but it makes me smile a little whenever I see that the Royals got another win.

So, yeah. Baseball.
posted by xbonesgt at 8:09 AM on August 12, 2014 [8 favorites]

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