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Fan returns Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit ball

Jul 9, 2011, 6:05 PM EDT

Christian Lopez AP1

23-year-old Christian Lopez couldn’t wipe the smile off his face this afternoon. Of course, he was the lucky fan who caught Derek Jeter‘s 3,000th hit, a solo home run that landed in the left field seats in the third inning.

Lopez, a Yankees’ fan, attended the game as a gift from his girlfriend. While he could have easily sold the ball for an estimated six figures, Lopez decided to return to the ball to Jeter.

Here was his explanation during an appearance on the YES broadcast of the game, courtesy of the New York Daily News:

“He deserved this,” Lopez said in an interview on the YES Network. “He worked so hard for this. He’s been in the league for so long. I’m not really the kind to take something away from him.

“He earned it.”

While Lopez insisted that he didn’t want anything in return, he hardly walked away empty-handed. He was given four seats in a premium Yankee Stadium suite for the rest of the season – including a potential run at the playoffs and World Series. And according to ESPN New York, he will also get signed baseballs, jerseys and bats, and a chance to meet Jeter.

Not a bad deal, but hasn’t Lopez learned anything from Jeter? He could have dragged out negotiations until they gave him a three-year, $51 million contract with an option for 2014. Sorry, had to do it. In all seriousness, this was a very nice gesture by Lopez and it looks like everybody walked away happy.

  1. boxchain - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Yankees are still having trouble selling those overpriced suites I see

  2. skerney - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    I guess he didn’t need the $500k dollars that someone would have paid for the home-run-3000th-hit by the most beloved Yankee of all time.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I’m sure he’ll get a ton a signed Yankee paraphenila to sell. Good for him though. I could make up that money if that suite includes an open bar.

  4. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    So what if he could have probably bought a quaint little home with the money if he sold the ball, whats a mortgage payment every month for the rest of his life worth anyway if he has some nice bats.

  5. oprah999 - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Lopez is a Latino, that’s why he is capable of such a nice gesture. A non-Latino American would have dollar signs in his eyes and hired a rep/sales agent.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:46 PM

      I really hope you are being sarcastic, because if not that is a really retarded thing to say. Some might even say racist.

      • CliffC - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Is it ironic that someone criticizing someone for saying something politically incorrect uses the word “retarded” in doing so?

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:59 PM

        I wasnt describing a person or a people. I was using it as a verb to describe a comment. There is a difference.

      • oprah999 - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:15 PM

        WOW, it really hurts you when a stereotype is applied towards non-Latino Americans, huh? But every stereotype has a little bit of truth after all, no?

      • jjschiller - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:48 PM

        Oprah, why would you assume that royalsfaninfargo would agree that “Every stereotype has a little truth to it?”

        He’s from Fargo so he’s probably white? He’s probably white so he’s probably a racist? A greedy racist?

      • oprah999 - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:20 PM

        jjschiller… you’re putting words in my mouth… But… it’s true what you say about white Americans. I’ve hired many and they’re ineffective workers with a disproportionate sense of entitlement. They sit around all day at the office, following sports scores on-line, having two hour lunches, calculating their benefits and tracking their 401k retirement portfolios. A lousy cost-productivity ratio, for sure.

      • Paul - Jul 10, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        Oprah –

        You are either a hell of a troll or a hell of a racist. Either way, you are a worthless human being. All the best on your slow trip to hell.

    • wildinkc - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      Not cool. Congrats to Lopez you did the right thing.

      • oprah999 - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:19 PM

        Yes, Hispanic-Americans and Latino culture make the U.S. a better and more humane place.

      • Old Gator - Jul 9, 2011 at 11:14 PM

        You only say that because you don’t have to drive in Macondo.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:41 PM

      And let’s not forget Mario Lopez- who played AC Slater- the biggest badass at Bayside High.

      • wildinkc - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:53 PM

        I don’t know Zach Morris could freeze time by saying “Time Out”. Thats pretty badass right there. AC couldn’t do that. hahahahaha

  6. skerney - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    race sarcasm make fools of us all. keep it about jeter please.

  7. ccad05 - Jul 9, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Wow, I’ve always wanted to tell oprah to STFU!!!

    • oprah999 - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:22 PM

      Please be my guest. Hope I’ve provided you with your lifetime thrill. Oprah is all about helping people fulfill their potential in life

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:36 PM

        And about being fat and telling other people how they should eat.

      • jjschiller - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:51 PM

        You’re ruining everyone’s fun bro. And when you take stupid stuff and make it about racism, you trivialize racism and give racists a blanket of implausibility to hide under.

        Boy crying wolf, and all that stuff.

  8. skerney - Jul 9, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I’m ignoring this thread from now on. Jeters 3000th hit has nothing to do with race relations or oprah making peoples lives better. ugh.

  9. ccad05 - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    No, but AC had a cool greasy mullet

  10. ccad05 - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Anyway, jeter congrats. Can’t say I’m a Yankee fan but you’re in great company and an elite club. Well done

  11. wildinkc - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I do want to say this even though I am not a Yankee fan I am a baseball fan and congrats to Derek Jeter on the great accomplishment of getting 3000 hits. You are the first star that I remember watching as a rookie and you turning into what you have become so you have always had a special place in my heart. You might have lost a step or two but that comes with age and that takes nothing away from your accomplishment today. Congratulations Jeter!!!!!!!!

  12. paperlions - Jul 9, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    If Jeter was even a tenth as magnanimous as people think he is, he would do something in return for the guy. It would be nothing to Jeter to give the guy $1MM in appreciation for returning the ball voluntarily or to offer to send the guys kids (when/if he has them) to any university they wish to attend. I know the guy said he doesn’t want anything in return, that is why giving him something anyway would be a generous act on Jeter’s part….as far as I can tell, the Yankees gave the guy a lot of stuff….Jeter didn’t give him anything by perhaps an autograph.

    • metalhead65 - Jul 10, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      unlike this guy Jeter earned the money he has made and does not owe him a nickel let alone a million dollars. just because he can does not mean he should give the guy money for being lucky. I hate when people start telling other people what they should do with their money unless it involves giving it to me. if I win the lottery nobody but my family will a penny of it.

      • paperlions - Jul 10, 2011 at 10:05 AM

        You don’t read well do you. I said if Jeter is who people act like he is…he would give the guy something. Jeter hasn’t done anything to earn much of the money he’s been paid, his salary has reflected the loyalty of the NY fans, not his ability per se. He would have made tens of millions less if he played anywhere but NY, meaning that the NY fan base is responsible for a huge portion of his “earnings”, not Jeter himself.

        If Jeter is who NYY fans act like he is, he would have taken this opportunity to show them his appreciation for them. As far as I can tell, it has been a pretty one-sided love affair.

    • jeremyb91 - Jul 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      “Jeter hasn’t done anything to earn much of the money he’s been paid, his salary has reflected the loyalty of the NY fans, not his ability per se.”

      What are you smoking dude? These players earn what they get paid for based on the money that’s out there. You can say they don’t deserve multi-million contracts, but the extra-base hits in key situations has always been something Jeter did for the Yankees. He’s earned his money. 3,000 hits and a lifetime as a Yankee he’s done everything he’s needed to. Yes these past two seasons have been rougher watching him, but don’t think he’s not making his money.

      You can laugh at the 3 year $51 million contract, but Jeter just earned a bunch of that in the past month while chasing 3,000 hits. How did earn it? Fan attendance, fans buying more Jeter gear, fans buying more Yankees gear because they are shopping for Jeter gear, more fans watching TV or the internet, etc. etc. Jeter’s not getting paid for his below .300 average, he’s getting paid for the merchandise and everything else his value brings to the Yankees.

      Derek Jeter will be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player. If that’s not enough to earn what he has, I don’t know what else you expect?

  13. Reflex - Jul 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Classy move by a classy fan. I hope I’d be able to bring myself to do the same in a situation like that. I’m sure the Yankees will take care of him, and hopefully Jeter does as well.

  14. machomaniac - Jul 10, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    Nice guy

    And yeah I’ve never heard of Latino low lifes, all those gangs sure are hard working stand up gentlemen

    • oprah999 - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      Yeah, low lifes don’t discriminate, they come in all colors of the rainbow. But there are more white low lifes than any other color, though. Many of them form their gangs at banks, insurance companies, Wall Street investment offices, screwing everyone while pretending to be hard working stand up gentlemen.

  15. sharcourt - Jul 10, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    It was a good gesture giving the ball back to Jeter, but if I were fortunate enough to be in that spot at that moment, immediately following the game I would have hopped a plane to Arlington Texas and handed that ball to the little boy who lost his Daddy.

    • oprah999 - Jul 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      That’s silly. You’re assuming that something that’s important to Jeter fans will be important to everybody, including a little boy who just lost his dad in Texas. I would have sold the stupid ball and opened a college fund for the little.boy, assuming he comes from a family of modest means.

  16. shaggylocks - Jul 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Geez, that’s so damn classy it makes me want to puke. I hope every bar in New York hangs his picture up to make sure he never pays for another drink for the rest of the year.

    • monkey123l - Jul 10, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      Imagine for a moment the pressure this guy was under. Got a hold of Jeter’s 3000 hit homerun. Panic sets in as to the gravity of his monumental luck. Security sweeps him away. Fans screaming all types of things at him. Security whispering in his ear. The Yankee elite embracing him. Flashbulbs and a media fire storm. Some fat kid from New York state is heralded as the MAN. No time to consider how HUGE this moment was. He decides. I want to meet Jeter. Give him the ball and shake his hand. WOW. Poor guy. He got swindled. At least give him some time to consider what had just happened to him. And his father. A tool. Period. So they couldn’t use the money. Graduated from some shit college working in telecom. WOW. Idiot. PERIOD. The Yankees nor the fans needed him to be the consummate fan. The Yankees paying a cool million for that ball didn’t mean pooh to them
      A gift for the millionaire and his glorious franchise. Pathetic. Hope he doesn’t regret his decision. 57,000 fans. Kid was handed a lottery ticket and declines. A multi-million dollar franchise that has the highest payroll and ticket price of any team playing “Americas Favorite Pastime.” The problem is this. A fan. Idolize a player and a team that epitomizes capitalism. He certainly didn’t return that ball for me. Or the troops. Or school teachers. Or fireman. The common man. His moment of fame to sit with the Millionaires. He’s a tool. Stated he has plenty of time to make money. Insult to any working stiff in this country. All the saps saying he did something of merit. Then tell your boss that they can keep next years salary. It’s a gift because you so believe in the over priced product they force you to pimp day in and out. Tell the Yankees to gift those seats for 1 game. Free soda and dogs for all the kids. He inspired nothing to me. A golden opportunity WASTED. And I’m not even talking about taking the Yankees to the bank. Once again. The working man. The average Joe becomes the deer in the headlights. HERO WORSHIP. Hope he doesn’t regret his decision one day. Long live MLB..!

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