Dec 16, 2014
"I have never cried at a baseball game, until today." While we all understand that "There is no crying in Baseball", we can sympathize with the words of Kansas City Ballhawk Leiming Tang and similar feelings shared by millions of baseball fans across the country as the San Francisco Giants edged his Kansas City Royals in the seventh game of an exciting 2014 World Series.
For Leiming, it had been a long season. Studying abroad in Australia this past year, Leiming attended the Opening Series between the Dodgers and D-Backs, snagging Sydney commemoratives while most of us were more than a week out from Opening Day.
Sadly, Leiming would not attend another MLB game for over three months until classes ended in July. On his way back home, Leiming made a stop in Anaheim to take in an Angels-Blue Jays series in which he was able to resume his passion of snagging baseballs.
Back in the states as a full-time student, Leiming was able to attend a surprising number of games in a variety of cities. His love of commemoratives took him to Minnesota for the Home Run Derby and All Star Game, Chicago for Wrigley 100th Anniversary balls and Baltimore for 60th Anniversary balls.
In September, something very unusual happened. His Kansas City Royals got hot. Really hot! They won the Wildcard with an improbable, come from behind victory over the Oakland A's with Leiming scoring 7 balls. They humiliated the Angels with Leiming attending all three games, racking up another 18 balls. The Royals then embarrassed the Baltimore Orioles, with Leiming collecting 8 balls in the 3 games that he attended.
Ever the resourceful one, Leiming entered the ticket lottery was able to purchase all seven World Series game tickets at face value. He attended every 2014 World Series game!"Getting commemorative World Series baseballs were a cinch, since I know Doug Henry, the Royals bullpen coach who would always hook me up", quipped Leiming. A well-known, long time Kansas City Royals fan, Leiming was familiar to players like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas who would acknowledge Leiming and point to him in the crowd.
Although his Royals fell just short, Leiming remains positive and sums up his magical season by stating, "Despite emptying my bank account, following what is perhaps my best month that I have ever had in baseball, I would not trade this experience for anything. After-all, it could be another 29 years until the Royals make it to the Post Season again". I seriously doubt that he will have to wait that long.
Leiming ended up the 2014 season with 179 balls, good enough for 15th place on My Game Balls. Not bad for a ballhawk who missed nearly half of the season.
Enjoy the off-season everyone, 2015 will be here before we know it!