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The guy who caught Jeter’s 3,000th hit is “a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt”

Jul 11, 2011, 2:50 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Getty Images

Look, I’m not saying that the guy had the simplest decision in the world in front of him.  And to hear him describe it during the radio interview he did at WFAN, things were pretty hectic around the time he decided to give the ball back to Derek Jeter.  Security had hustled him out of his seat and into the bowels of the stadium. They were asking him point blank what he wanted for the ball and everything.  No, it wasn’t like they had him in thumb screws or anything, but I can see how the situation may not have been comfort city.

Still, when he answered the following question the way he did, the fact that he gave up a ball that could have meant a couple hundred thousand dollars is all the more facepalm worthy than we first thought:

Is it true your girlfriend jokingly wanted you to keep the ball so you could pay off student loans?

“Yeah I am a couple of hundred thousand dollars in debt thanks to St.Lawrence University. I mean it’s crazy.”

But hey, Jeter has his baseball back, so I guess it’s all OK.

Oh, and if you haven’t voted in our poll yet, please do so. As I write this, “auctioned the ball off to the highest bidder” is trouncing “give the ball back to Jeter” among HBT readers.

  1. jimbo1949 - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Honors student?

    • kcfanatic - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM

      “A lot of people go to school for 7 years.”

      “Yeah, they’re called doctors.”

      –Tommy Boy

  2. Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    This is where Jetes comes in and pays the guys loans off right?? It’s probably all planned out already to make Jetes a true American hero.

    • Panda Claus - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      If Jeter was a car brand, that classic advertising jingle would’ve been “baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Derek Jeter”. Saying he’s a “true American hero” is redundant.

    • emoser - Jul 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM

      Or, call me crazy, but maybe the guy could just sell some of those suite tickets instead of going to 40 freaking home games over the second half of the season?

      Regardless, the guy was crazy for just giving the ball away to a player who almost left this fan’s favorite team because they had the audacity to only offer him twice his fair market value instead of three times.

  3. Old Gator - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Security hustled him away? Craig, what, in your formerly professional opinion, would you advise a client who had just been manhandled by security working for a multibillion dollar corporation for no good reason at all in full view of millions of witnesses and was a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt to….do? Be honest now, you’re not a lawyer anymore.

    Also, I think this guy could use an EDIT FUNCTION for his next stupid decision.

    • Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:09 PM

      I for one am against an edit function!!!! I even punctuated excessively on purpose to emphasize my feelings here. What about when people post things really dumb and a bunch of people call them out? They can go back and edit their post and confuse everyone else reading that thread afterwards. This could be the reason why it hasn’t happened yet.

      • Panda Claus - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:27 PM

        Not trying to pick on you today Jonny 5, but by your very stand against the edit function, you are, by definition, against instant replay as well.

        I happen to think instant replay’s even more important than the HBT eidt function (see what I did there?).

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        Oh heavens no. You have it all wrong. When you think about it, I am for truth. Which supports the replay and not having an edit button. Who can argue against truth? Ya now besides the guilty, attorneys, and politicians of course….

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        Jeez, Jonny…you’re just baiting Gator now….

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        No, no. I really don’t have much desire for an edit button. It could cause a paradox. I’m cool with Gator wanting an edit button though, he knows not what he invites with this very dangerous feature. Mayhem!! FYI, I would never bait a gator, they have big teeth.

      • Old Gator - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        I have a solution. Give the EDIT FUNCTION! to everyone except Johnny5. Then, when he commits a typo, misspelling, mangles a syntax or some other as yet unclassified form of faux pas, he can have his wish and remained impaled upon it like a bug on a pin in some kid’s insect collection project for his high school science fair. It’s not what I’d want for myself or my descendants, but Johnny5 seems more concerned than I am for having his goofs preserved for posteriority. I have no desire to frustrate him.

        Like the song says, “Soonah or lateh, alligatah, he gonna snap yo ass.”

      • Phillies Homer - Jul 11, 2011 at 8:01 PM

        Going back to the days when I used to post on a sports forum, they had a feature where you can only edit your post 5-10 minutes after it goes up. Afterwards your post was locked. That way you can see that you made a silly spelling mistake… and fix it in time. But, as Johnny alluded to… it also prevent the calling out and deleting the post thing people would do.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 12, 2011 at 10:01 AM

        Man, I wouldn’t even use that button Gator If i had it. I enjoy showing everyone just how stooooopid I can be. No, actually I have had the occasion where I would have liked to have gone back to fix something I flubbed. But I do think it would be used for other things as I mentioned above. Maybe I could learn to appreciate what Homer mentioned? Probably.

    • Old Gator - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:15 PM

      Heh – that’s “latah.”

      Edit function!

      Edit function!


    • aaronmoreno - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      Well, I don’t think security manhandled him. They probably needed to get him somewhere safe for his own sake. Plenty of bad folks would want to get their hands on that ball. Remember the Barry Bonds Ball Brawl?

  4. Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    He could always sue Jeter to get the ball back like that little girl did to Ryan Howard. Wouldn’t that be rich?

  5. kopy - Jul 11, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    I don’t think his girlfriend was joking.

    Like I said in the last thread, I would definitely want some money for it, and my student loans/overall debt level is WAY lower than this guy’s. He seems to have fumbled an opportunity to improve his quality of life so bad that it’s not even funny. Somebody tied to the Yankees org. might step up and help out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  6. clydeserra - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Bet he is going to be even more pleasantly surprised when he gets the Tax bill for the “free” Season tickets.

    • jjschiller - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      That was my first thought. When I heard they gave him season tickets for free, I said “Boy. That’s going to be expensive..”

    • adslazaro - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      At least he doesn’t have to pay for the “accession to wealth” inherent in simply catching the ball in the first place, which is what the tax code said when people were fighting over Barry Bond’s 756th home run.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    He said he was selling cell phones- I guess that couple hundred thousand in student loan debt was worth it.

  8. spudchukar - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Derek, take it from fellow New Yorker Spike Lee, and “Do the Right Thing.”

  9. bloodysock - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Decisions like this are why the guy is a couple hundred grand in the hole.

  10. bravesfaninbama - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    The cost of an education in this country is out of control.

    • halladaysbiceps - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:15 PM

      Obviously, this kid either was robbed of an education or did not take economics. If he did take an economics class, he failed it.

      His $200,000 education didn’t buy him common sense.

      • kopy - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        I did a quick comparison, and the yearly on-campus tuition for St. Lawrence is $55k, and the 4-year public, accredited state school I attended is $17k. I don’t know why people choose private school unless: 1. Their parents can pay for it, 2. They are receiving huge help from scholarships/grants, or 3. The level of prestige from the school/program the student is admitted to is very high.

  11. Gardenhire's Cat - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Jeter, upon learning this, should pay off his students loans. Although not required, it would be very classy.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      You’re very generous with other people’s money.

  12. skerney - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Look, I agree that it was a classy move to give the ball back. It made the 3000th hit an even better story. But someone who is in that much debt and gives away an item to a millionaire and a billion dollar corporation is not making a sound decision. The game tickets and autographs are nice but this guy could have turned his balance sheet around for good. Now he is still in debt for the rest of his life and the Yankees and Jeter got a historical gem that they would have paid out the ear for for free. Nice guy, but not bright.

  13. yankeesgameday - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    What the heck is the tuition at st. Lawrence University?!

    • hotkarlsandwich - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:55 PM


  14. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Whats Jeter make around 100 grand per game, no way he could afford to do anything in this economy.

    If you don’t think the team of people who met with him weren’t assembled and prepared in advance to get that ball off of whoever happened to catch it, you live under a rock (or with your parents)

    They got over on him, and I’m sure by the end of the week he will express regret and say he felt pressured.

  15. sdelmonte - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Was he really going to sell the ball for that large an amount? He’d still be in debt up to his eyeballs.

    He did a nice thing, and that is all there is to it.

    • florida76 - Jul 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      No, returning the ball was a dumb move, it has been valued at $250,000..

      • skerney - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        Jeter or the Yanks would have gladly paid for the ball. Now he has some tickets that he will have to pay taxes on and some autographs that, given his crippling debt, he should sell.

  16. metalhead65 - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    look the guy did what he wanted to and nobody forced him to give it up. it is not up to Jeter to pay off this guys debts.Jeter earned the money he has and if he wants to pay off the kids debt fine but nobody should to him to what to do with his money. the guy seems happy he did what he did so leave him alone already.stop trying to make him feel like an idiot for not trying to blackmail Jeter.

    • nlfan865 - Jul 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      metal ….well said!!! everyone is so fixated on money…the guy did what he thought was right…and there is something to be said for that!!!

  17. Richard In Big D - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    I guess St, Lawrence is one of those places where stupid people go to get a diploma so they can get a job. Like the place I went. If this guy is indicative of their students, it ain’t no think tank!

    • skerney - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      Hold the phone, you can get a job after college? WHAT!!!! No one taught me that!

  18. lardin - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    For all the posters saying that the fan would have to pay taxes on the Seats, you are correct. He would also have to pay taxes on the value of the balls, bats and jerseys. He would also pay income taxes on any money he received for the ball. The IRS always gets their money.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:59 PM

      The difference is, had he sold the ball he’d actually have the money to pay those taxes.

  19. jwbiii - Jul 11, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    If a heel like Barry Bonds can pick up the tab for Bryan Stow’s kids’ college expenses, surely a face like Jeter can do the same for this guy.

    • Andrew - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:14 PM

      Excellent point.

      • skerney - Jul 11, 2011 at 5:16 PM

        Second that.

  20. boxchain - Jul 11, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    $250k for catching a ball…that’s more than Jeter makes. I think that’s his ‘dive unnecessarily for a dribbler and make a throw so close that the ump gives the Yankees the call’ rate.

  21. ptho16 - Jul 12, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    His first mistake was going 100k in debt for an undergrad degree.

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