First couple reaches first base

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First couple reaches first base

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President Lee Myung-bak and the first lady, Kim Yoon-ok, share a kiss between innings at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. [YONHAP]


President Lee Myung-bak took his family to a baseball game on Saturday afternoon and even smooched the first lady, Kim Yoon-ok, when they were shown on the stadium’s big screen, enthralling the crowd with the rare presidential public display of affection.

The presidential couple and their daughter’s family showed up at Jamsil Baseball Stadium for a Lotte-LG match, a first for Lee since taking office.

It was the first time a sitting president attended a baseball game since April 1994 when former President Kim Young-sam took a game in, said the Korea Baseball Organization.

Previous presidents before Kim had come to baseball games to throw the first pitch, but rarely did they stay for the entire game.

Lee and his family waved thunder sticks to cheer on the two teams, with the president often turning to his grandchildren to his left, appearing to explain the game to them.

The first couple engaged in some first-base action after the fourth inning, when they shared a quick kiss during “kiss time,” a tradition at Korean baseball games where several couples are urged to kiss while being shown on the giant electronic display board.

When the presidential couple was shown on the screen to the crowd’s delight, Lee turned to the first lady, who waved her hand in slight protest at first before giving in to her husband’s entreaties a few seconds later.

After erupting in cheers and flashing cameras, the stadium settled down for the rest of the game, during which Lee obliged those who requested pictures and autographs - sometimes raising two fingers in a “V.”

The president and his family stayed until the top of the ninth inning, with the Lotte Giants winning 7-1 against the LG Twins.

The secretary general of the KBO, Lee Sang-il, was also at the game after hearing that the president would be there. According to the KBO, Lee invited the president to attend more games, which have been quickly gaining in popularity over the past several years, with nearly 6 million fans attending ball games this season.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]


기사 [연합뉴스]

李대통령, 잠실서 가족과 야구관람 '망중한'


'키스 타임' 때 김여사와 키스..환호ㆍ박수 터져


이명박 대통령이 3일 오후 잠실구장을 찾아 '망중한'을 즐겼다.

이 대통령은 이날 오후 잠실에서 열린 프로야구 LG-롯데의 경기에 부인 김윤옥 여사와 가족들을 데리고 참석, 경기를 관람했다.

이 대통령의 야구 관전은 비공개 일정으로, 대통령이 정규 시즌의 경기를 관람하기는 이번이 처음이다.

이 대통령은 LG와 롯데 응원 막대풍선을 한 개씩 손에 들고 양팀 선수들을 응원했으며, 경기가 진행되는 동안 손자ㆍ손녀들에게 야구 규칙을 설명해주는 자상한 모습도 보여줬다.

특히 4회가 끝난 뒤 홈팀 LG가 진행한 그라운드 이벤트인 '키스타임'에 이 대통령과 김 여사가 카메라에 잡혀 키스를 하기도 했다.

이 대통령 가족의 야구 관전 사실을 모르고 있던 일반 관중들은 대통령 내외의 '깜짝 출연'에 환호와 박수로 반겼다고 한 참석자는 전했다.

청와대 관계자는 "대통령이 가족들과 함께 야구 경기를 관람했다"면서 "바쁜 일정 속에서 가족들과 즐거운 시간을 갖기 위한 것"이라고 말했다.

이 대통령은 평소 야구에 관심이 많았으며, 지난해 한국시리즈를 비롯해 몇 차례 야구장 방문을 시도했으나 일정이 맞지 않아 성사되지 못한 것으로 알려졌다.

이에 앞서 청와대는 지난달 말 한국야구위원회(KBO)에 야구 관람에 대한 요청을 한 것으로 전해졌다.

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