Before the hubbub of Game 2, Royals superfan SungWoo Lee had a quiet and emotional moment at St. James Place on Troost Avenue, a community kitchen and food pantry operated by the Bishop Sullivan Center.
On his first trip to Kansas City in August, Lee had lunch at a local Zarda Bar-B-Q with Royals designated hitter Billy Butler. That friendly repast sealed a bond between Lee and Butler, a fervent Bishop Sullivan supporter along with his wife, Katie, through their Hit-It-A-Ton Foundation.
To raise money for St. James, Lee’s Kansas City friends/welcoming committee, including Chris Kamler, made T-shirts with Lee’s face on them and sold them at local Zarda restaurants. People lined up to buy the shirts the first day they were available, Kamler said.
Wednesday afternoon Lee and his new KC buddies toured St. James Place and then presented one of those big, oversized cardboard checks representing the money raised – $2,565.75.
Lee seemed overwhelmed by the whole affair. Saying that he’s been struck by “Midwest hospitality,” he said he never expected that so many people would want to own a T-shirt bearing his likeness.
“I thought it was just for fun.” he said. “I didn’t expect it was going to be a big deal like this to help this community with its ... people. It’s really touching.
“The people (pay) $15 for your face like this. They have no idea what this money is used for. But once I got here and looked around the facility run by Bishop Sullivan, it really made a difference.”
Filming the scene Wednesday was a New York City-based production crew making a documentary about Lee for ESPN’s “30 for 30” film series. The movie-makers were the ones responsible for talking Lee’s new employer in Seoul, South Korea, to give him time off to come back to Kansas City for the World Series.
As of now, Lee is expected to be in town for the rest of the series, said Josh Swade, senior producer and director for Maggie Vision Productions.
By the way, folks enjoying dinner at St. James Place Wednesday night were treated to Zarda barbecue, with Billy Butler’s own barbecue sauce on the side.