Since being the man to scoop up Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit last Saturday, Christian Lopez has become a baseball sensation because of his good fortune, great attitude, and ultimately how he’s being screwed over by the IRS. Lopez, of course, happily volunteered to give the milestone home run ball to Jeter, asking for nothing in return except for a chance to meet the New York Yankees icon. The Yankees said , “Screw that” and gave the 23-year old four season tickets for the rest of this season, including the playoffs and World Series, and they’re throwing in the first batch of autographed Jeter 3K memorabilia for him, too. But that’s when the IRS stepped in and said, “Not so fast.”
Luckily for Lopez, who sells mobile phones for a living, some companies are rewarding the selfless manner in which he simply gave the ball back. Miller High Life has offered to throw a party for him and donate the proceeds to paying off any taxes he owes from accepting the Yankees’ gift (Miller will pay the whole bill regardless of how much a party raises) and CEO Mitch Modell of Modell’s Sporting Goods has joined sports memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner to raise $50,000 for paying off part of Lopez’s $150,000 student loans. I know, I’m baffled by that one, too.
Steiner said he got a call on Wednesday from his buddy Modell, and they got the ball rolling. Steiner set up an auction of memorabilia that eventually will include baseballs signed by both Lopez and Jeter and said Modell is pledging five percent from the sale of Yankees-related merchandise at the Modell’s chain during what will be called “Christian Lopez Week.”
“That itself is a totally awesome situation right now for all parties involved,” Lopez said.
“Can you believe how good a mensch this kid was?” Steiner said. (Via Money Watch)
Lopez, who apparently went to school to become an astronaut doctor lawyer, has been making plenty of appearances to talk about his ability to pick a ball up and this crazy roller coaster ride, and now Topps is jumping in to make him his very own baseball card as well.
Even Tampa Rays pitcher David Price is pitching in by autographing an unknown amount of balls with “I gave up DJ 3K” inscribed on them. When asked if he was worried about Rays fans being upset with his participation, Price responded, “Hahahahahahaha, Rays fans. That’s a good one.”
Videos of Lopez’s catch and an interview after the jump.