• The Christian Lopez Story/Debate

    Posted by on July 11th, 2011 · Comments (24)

    The story via FOX News Latino -

    A cool $50,000. Even $100,000 to $250,000.

    Half a million dollars!

    Those are some of the estimates for how much Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit – a home run – might sell for in the collectibles market. But when the ball settled into Christian Lopez’s hands, he didn’t have to think twice about his price.

    “I was just happy I caught the ball,” the Highland Mills, New York, native told Fox News Latino.

    Lopez, 23, never considered trying to sell the ball in the open market. After he emerged from the scrum, he was whisked away to the bowels of Yankee Stadium, with the head of security in front of him, asking him what he wanted for the ball.

    Lopez said he hadn’t thought about that. He turned to his father, Raul Lopez, for guidance.

    “You’re a grown man,” his proud father said. “You make your own decisions.”

    And the young man – who has Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican and Nicaraguan roots – did just that.

    He said that it would “be cool to get a jersey or something,” and maybe some bats and balls.

    The Yankees decided on Derek Jeter-autographed bats, balls, and jerseys. And they threw in four Champions Suite season tickets for every remaining home game this season, including the playoffs, to go along with his front row seats for Sunday’s game after he caught 3,000.

    “The jerseys and balls are going to be the sickest,” Lopez said. “I’ll frame those right away and give one to my girlfriend.

    “The president gave me his card,” Lopez added, referring to Yankees President Randy Levine. “I’m going to e-mail him a little later and ask them to make out one of the jerseys to my girlfriend’s family so I can give it to her for her birthday next week.

    “She started crying last night, her grandma was a big fan of Derek Jeter,” Lopez continued. “This means a lot to her. I know how much Derek Jeter means to her family.”

    When Lopez was interviewed by Michael Kay live on the YES Network after he caught the ball, he said that as a Latino, Jeter means a lot to him.

    “I just meant that as a minority, he’s done a lot for our generation,” Lopez said on Monday. “I grew up watching the guy; he’s done a lot for us. As a minority he’s had struggles to go through and he’s overcome a lot. I look up to that in the man. He’s an icon for our generation.”

    And for the lifelong Yankee fan, he can’t pick just one memory that stands out as his favorite from the whirlwind game.

    “I remember the whole day,” Lopez said. “I got to watch the rest of the game from George Steinbrenner’s suite. I met Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Jay-Z and Derek Jeter.

    “I was like a kid in a candy shop.”

    Poor kid was getting killed by callers on WFAN this morning for not cashing in on catching the ball.

    Sure, and, if he had kept the ball for the dough, people would be on him for that too.

    Me? I would have given the ball back to Jeter as well – requesting a photo of Jeter with my kids (who were at the game with me) in exchange. That’s it. Would have used my own camera too.

    Maybe that makes me stupid – especially considering that I have so little saved, so far, for the college tuition of those aforementioned kids, now ages seven and nine? But, it just seems like the right thing to do. And, if there’s such a thing as karma, I can’t imagine a better karma thing that someone could do…in a spot like that.

    Comments on The Christian Lopez Story/Debate

    1. Raf
      July 11th, 2011 | 12:31 pm

      If WFAN’ers are in a tizzy, that means the kid did the right thing. :-P

      Look at all that he has gotten so far,
      The Yankees decided on Derek Jeter-autographed bats, balls, and jerseys. And they threw in four Champions Suite season tickets for every remaining home game this season, including the playoffs, to go along with his front row seats for Sunday’s game after he caught 3,000.

      “I got to watch the rest of the game from George Steinbrenner’s suite. I met Reggie Jackson, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Jay-Z and Derek Jeter.”

      I’d say he’s already cashing in.

    2. Garcia
      July 11th, 2011 | 1:01 pm

      Agreed. The guy did the right thing, we talk so much about people doing the dignified thing, but now people want him to hold a ball hostage.

      I would have done the same exact thing as Christian. I’m not wired where money is focal point of my every decision. Money comes and goes, your character is what defines you.

    3. July 11th, 2011 | 1:01 pm

      There’s no way I would kill the kid for making the decision he made or anyone else for that matter. His life, his decision, and I’m happy for him.

      However, considering my student loans, the amount of money I’ve already given the Yankees in the amount of games and merchandise I’ve bought, and the fact that I’m just starting out in life and could use the monetary boost, I would definitely sell the ball, no questions asked.

      Having 4 tickets for every game (with more than half I couldn’t attend anyway), meeting celebrities, and the like? Eh, doesn’t entice me as much as getting rid of all my debt and putting myself in a better situation in life. It’s what many of these players do every year with free agency anyway, right? Get as much money as they can to better themselves? Why shouldn’t I?

      I don’t owe Jeter or the Yankees anything. They already got what they want out of me numerous times: my hard-earned money for the last 6 years. Frankly, for me, that would be a karma boost in the opposite direction: you work hard all your life and bam, good fortune hits you (literally). Pay off what you need to and set yourself up well for the future.

      The “right thing” depends on who you are and your priorities. For me, $250,000 means a heck of a lot more to me than Yankee tickets, autographed merchandise, and meeting celebrities if only because those three things don’t pay my bills quite as well.

    4. July 11th, 2011 | 1:08 pm

      I am fascinated by the story. But I don’t see the karma thing. If the fan wanted to auction the ball off for charity, and give all the money to the needy, that would be one thing. But giving a commodity worth six figures for free to a player who has made over $200 million in his career? Not so much. Especially when the fan has $100K in student loans to pay.

      Besides, Jeter and the Yankees aren’t giving away all the DJ3K stuff for free — they’re charging big prices for it all, from the game-used dirt, to autographs, to $550 watches. Why shouldn’t a fan get rightfully compensated from him catching the 3000th hit ball?

      BTW, Lopez is going to have to pay taxes on those “free” tickets. How warm and fuzzy will he feel about what he did when the tax man sends him a 1099? Karma isn’t going to pay his taxes.

    5. July 11th, 2011 | 1:09 pm

      Garcia wrote:

      I’m not wired where money is focal point of my every decision. Money comes and goes, your character is what defines you.

      Who’s to say that asking for money for something extremely valuable is a character flaw or that there’s something wrong with your character by any means?

      $250,000 means that all my student loans will be paid off and I will have the ability to make myself more financially secure for my future (you know, house, wife, kids, etc). I can even kick some money back to my family to help them out as well. I don’t personally feel that my reasoning means I have a “character flaw”, but hey, that’s just me.

    6. July 11th, 2011 | 1:22 pm

      Here’s another angle to consider. It’s sort of like the Bartman thing.

      Give the ball back and a bunch of people call you dumb for passing on the money. That’s it.

      Don’t give the ball back, sell it to the highest bidder, and then you have a segment of crazed Yankees fans who view you as scum and who will make your life, living in the NY area, somewhat of a living hell. Bartman had to go hide in Florida for a while.

      Granted, keeping a HR ball and taking a foul ball away from a fielder is not a perfect match.

      But, take it from someone who has had to deal with some Yankees fans who don’t like what he wrote, it can be somewhat annoying to have to deal with that crap.

    7. July 11th, 2011 | 1:31 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      Steve, my Met fan blogging partner pointed out the same thing as you to me about the rabid fans. If it were me, I wouldn’t care, though. Are the fans going to pay my bills? No. End of story.

    8. July 11th, 2011 | 1:31 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      Why not use the Bonds’ home run ball situation as a comparison?

      Aside from the lawsuits of who actually caught the ball, did you hear any stories about people treating the guys who caught Bonds’ 763rd HR ball or Bonds’ 73rd HR ball like scum? I don’t seem to recall, but I could be wrong.

      You deal with it as you wish, but if you know what you did was right for you and your future, it’s a small price to pay to deal with ignorant fans and the harsh words for financial security for you and your family in the future. Simple as that.

    9. Garcia
      July 11th, 2011 | 1:33 pm

      Brent wrote:

      Garcia wrote:
      I’m not wired where money is focal point of my every decision. Money comes and goes, your character is what defines you.

      Who’s to say that asking for money for something extremely valuable is a character flaw or that there’s something wrong with your character by any means?
      $250,000 means that all my student loans will be paid off and I will have the ability to make myself more financially secure for my future (you know, house, wife, kids, etc). I can even kick some money back to my family to help them out as well. I don’t personally feel that my reasoning means I have a “character flaw”, but hey, that’s just me.

      Fine. I’m not wired that way, if I got the ball out of pure randomness/chance then now I have to worry about all these “life” things and helping out my situation, having some extra loot to help out people close to me, etc. The thing just keeps growing.

      It’s the same reason why I don’t play the lotto. The minute you win something, then people automatically feel entitled to your winnings. Anyone can win, that’s the point. You didn’t do anything special catching that dopey ball. The same with a lotto ticket. If you earn your money then you don’t have to worry about all that nonsense.

    10. Garcia
      July 11th, 2011 | 1:37 pm

      @ Brent:
      BTW, I didn’t mean to make your decision as the wrong one. It works for you then great.

    11. July 11th, 2011 | 1:42 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      Steve, my Met fan blogging partner pointed out the same thing as you to me about the rabid fans. If it were me, I wouldn’t care, though. Are the fans going to pay my bills? No.

      They can cause you some bills though – when they trash your car, egg your house, etc. Like I said, Bartman had to move because it was so bad. He was lucky that the company he worked for was willing to back him up and allow a transfer to a different office. (I know this because I used to work there.) But, some other companies may have fired him for bringing negative attention to the firm. That’s not going to pay your bills either.

    12. July 11th, 2011 | 1:44 pm

      Garcia wrote:

      @ Brent:
      BTW, I didn’t mean to make your decision as the wrong one. It works for you then great.

      Absolutely, and I totally understand the other end as well. Again, I just think the “right thing” depends on the person and their priorities. I wouldn’t put down Christian by any means because in his mind, he made the right decision and did the right thing and that’s great for him.

    13. July 11th, 2011 | 1:47 pm

      Brent wrote:

      Why not use the Bonds’ home run ball situation as a comparison?

      I would suggest that just about EVERYONE thought/knew Bonds was/is a prick and didn’t care that he got the ball back whereas Jeter is a god to many Yankees fans. Therefore, it’s not a perfect comparison. But, that’s just IMHO.

    14. July 11th, 2011 | 1:49 pm

      While looking for other instances like this around, I came across an interesting factoid about A-Rod’s 600th homer.

      After the security guard (same age as Christian and myself, 23) got A-Rod’s 600th home run ball and returned it to his supervisor, all A-Rod did was give him a handshake and an autographed bat, according to the Post.

      Just a bat? Come on here! ;-)

    15. July 11th, 2011 | 1:53 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      I would suggest that just about EVERYONE thought/knew Bonds was/is a prick and didn’t care that he got the ball back whereas Jeter is a god to many Yankees fans. Therefore, it’s not a perfect comparison. But, that’s just IMHO.

      I think that’s definitely fair to say. It’s interesting to try and have any comparisons because… well… every comparison comes short.

      A-Rod’s 500th home run ball was auctioned off by the person who caught it. However, no news source got the person’s name or anything similar, just that he was a New York City area college student. Wow.

      Amazing how 4 years can change so much.

    16. July 11th, 2011 | 4:12 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      How sad is it that fans would have to worry about their brethren doing bad things to them? Not fans of opposing teams, but fans of the same team, like with Steve Bartman? Sad commentary on society.

    17. July 11th, 2011 | 4:20 pm

      @ Brent:

      The 500 home run guy’s name was published at the time, and he even appeared on Mike and the Mad Dog to ask for advice on what to do. The day of the game, Yankees tried to strongarm him into accepting a signed jersey (!) for the ball. They also wouldn’t let him talk to A-Rod to negotiate, according to what the guy’s brother said at the time. I don’t know the entire story, but the fan ended up auctioning the ball for 103,000, and managed to keep his name out of the auction story. And the media never went back to the original stories, to connect the dots.

      The A-Rod 600 home run guy was a paid employee who got the ball as part of his job (the ball was hit in Monument Park.) As such, I can’t see giving him a huge reward. But the 500 home run guy deserved every penny.

    18. July 11th, 2011 | 5:16 pm

      I heard that A-Rod offered the 500-HR guy a year’s worth of Yuri Sucart’s services – which included full body-waxing and hand-pumped high colonics – but, the guy wasn’t interested.

      But, who knows if that’s true.

    19. redbug
      July 11th, 2011 | 5:50 pm

      Given this kid has about $100k in student loans and his 1st instinct was to give the ball to Jeter and ask for only some autographs, I hope Jeter quietly gives the kid his loan balance. That’s pocket change to Jeter.

    20. Corey Italiano
      July 11th, 2011 | 6:38 pm

      I woulda asked for lifetime season tickets…that’d be well worth it in my book.

    21. 77yankees
      July 11th, 2011 | 9:14 pm

      You know, this kid could parlay his notoriety into a better (paying) job. I mean if the guy who willingly gave up Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit and asked for nothing in return is up for a job against Joe Schmo, who do you think has an advantage?

      He could even hit up the Yankees or one of their sponsors/subsidiaries to try to hook him up.

    22. throwstrikes
      July 11th, 2011 | 10:58 pm

      A nice gesture but a bad business decision. Lopez can be my best friend but not my accountant.

    23. Raf
      July 12th, 2011 | 9:00 pm

      Uncle Sam wants his cut
      http://www.ky3.com/news/wpix-jeter-fan-hit-with-taxes,0,5919075.story

      NEW YORK (PIX11)— As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Unfortunately, Yankees fan Christian Lopez will have to learn this the hard way.

      After catching Derek Jeter’s historic 3,000th hit at Saturday’s Yankee game, Lopez graciously returned the ball to Jeter stating that “He earned it.” For his kind gesture, the Yankees rewarded him with luxury box tickets for the rest of the season, signed baseballs, jerseys, and bats from Jeter and four premium front-row seats to Sunday’s game.

      However, Lopez might have been better off if he had just kept the ball. According to the New York Daily News, Lopez will have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes for the gifts the Yankees gave to him.

      “There’s different ways the I.R.S. could try to characterize a ball caught by a fan in the stands,” said Andrew D. Appleby, a tax associate familiar with the tax implications of souvenir baseballs. “But when the Yankees give him all those things, it’s much more clear-cut that he owes taxes on what they give him.”

    24. July 13th, 2011 | 1:33 pm

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