After foul ball kerfuffle went viral, all sides ready to move on

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by MARJORIE OWENS, JIM DOUGLAS and TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 3:56 AM

Poll:
Do you think the couple should have given the ball to the child?

FLOWER MOUND - Thursday night, Cameron Shores tapped his bat on his backyard mound, kicked dust off the plate, set his stance, and swung. It was an inside-the-backyard home run at his Flower Mound house.

He believes he is Mike Napoli in a three-year-old's body. And when you're three, sometimes there is crying in baseball.

Wednesday night, the young toddler broke out in tears when at the top of the eighth, Mitch Moreland tossed a foul ball into the stands and someone else caught the ball.

Sean Leonard, a North Richland Hills resident and employee of the city of Southlake, attended the game with his fiance, Shannon Moore. It was the first game they had ever been to together. He happened to be sitting next to Cameron Shores and the boy's parents as the ball flew through the air and towards their seats.

The crowd got up on their feet, but it was sitting Leonard who was able to bend down and get a grip on the ball when it hit the ground.

Upon seeing this, the little boy broke into tears, bringing the attention of the game's New York announcers, who called Leonard and Moore "greedy."

"I remember seeing [the ball] on the ground, and then, he started crying," said Cameron's mom, Crystal. "It just happened so fast!"

The television camera showed Leonard and Moore taking pictures with it, while Cameron cried beside them. Then, the video went viral Thursday, and they were being called names all over TV and the Internet.

While the debate over the video reached the masses, it was something Leonard said he hadn't even realized happened.

"My fiance Shannon and I were honestly unaware of the situation of the little boy sitting next to us last night since we were so caught up in the excited and moment of being at our first Ranger's baseball game together," he wrote in a statement.

Leonard said as a soon-to-be large combined family of seven, that he and Shannon understand the emotions of a young child at a game. They spoke to News 8 Thursday afternoon.

"I love children, I would never hurt someone," Shannon Moore said.

They said it has been difficult being vilified by the now-viral video.

"It's very hurtful, especially when you know you wouldn't intentionally hurt somebody or hurt their feelings," Moore said. "Especially when it's a little-bitty toddler." 

Crystal Shores is convinced Leonard and Moore had no clue Cameron was so upset.

"I really don't think they knew," the boy's mother said. "I mean, it's loud there. He had his back to them and I really don't think it was anything malicious. I don't think they did it on purpose or anything else."

All was good by the end of the night, though. Someone tossed a ball to the boy from the Rangers dugout, so he went home with his own keepsake. Leonard said in the statement he offered the ball to the child after the ball was thrown from the dugout.

"The irony of the situation is, had we seen that he was upset and known for an instant, there's not a person that knows us that wouldn't agree that we would have given the ball to the child," Leonard said.

Leonard and Moore would like an apology from Michael Kay, the Yankees play-by-play announcer who insinuated that they were being insensitive to the little boy.

"He took an event and sensationalized it, threw it out there, never checked or validated the facts," Leonard said.

They said their phones are ringing off the hook, and the whole ordeal has made their lives miserable Thursday, but they do have something to look forward to.

They'll be getting married on Saturday.

And Cameron slept with the ball he was thrown from the dugout Wednesday night. He's already forgotten.

Leonard and Moore hope others will soon forget as well.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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