If I had a radio show, this topic could probably be worth a week’s calls in July. Christian Lopez, 23, scrambled to collect the home run ball that Derek Jeter ripped in the 3rd inning. It was a milestone – Jeter’s 3,000th hit. He’s the first Yankee to reach the plateau, and joins an elite list of 28 ballplayers to pull off the feat. (Along with Wade Boggs, he’s the only other player to make #3,000 a homer.)
To 50% of the population, Christian Lopez will be a “true fan” or “cool” for not asking for anything in return from the Yankees or Jeter. Lopez told a local radio station WFAN, “I’m not going to be the one to take this away from (Jeter). I’ve got plenty of time to make money.”
The Yankees hooked him up, anyway:
He will get Legends tickets for Sunday afternoon’s game as well as four season tickets for the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs.
Also, Lopez will get signed balls, jerseys and bats, and a chance to meet Jeter.
To the other 50% of the population, Lopez will be a rube who screwed up royally. Could he sell many of the tickets he was given and (conservatively) make $25,000? Certainly. The Yankees will be in the postseason, and perhaps reach the World Series, so Lopez could enjoy that ride instead of cashing in. Plus, he’ll enjoy the 15 Minutes of Fame PR bump for not being a greedy prick who lawyered up and tried to benefit from being lucky. Maybe he’ll get to announce the Top 10 on Letterman or make an appearance on Regis & Kelly.
But should have Lopez walked into that room in the bowels of Yankee Stadium after catching the ball, and said, “make me an offer?” The notoriously negative New York media would have found a way to crucify the guy if he got greedy, but knowing that Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball in 1998 was bought for $3 million, and Barry Bonds’ 756th home run ball went for $752k, and realizing Jeter’s was worth considerably less, would Lopez have been in the wrong to ask the Yankees to cut him a check for $50k and call it a day? What about $100k?
Is there a cutoff where being reasonable turns to greed?
I’m fairly certain one of the New York newspapers will ask a memorabilia “expert” to estimate what the ball would have fetched on the open market and my guess is low six figures.