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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts on Christian Lopez, Derek Jeter, and "Doing the Right Thing"

So, it looks like Christian Lopez, the starry-eyed Yankee fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3000th hit, is going to get bailed out of the whole mess the Yanks put him in by giving him $50,000 or so worth of "free" tickets and memorabilia. (And by the way, given that players and coaches have to pay taxes on the complimentary tickets the team lets them have, the team should have known in the first place that this was going to be an issue for Lopez. Just saying.)

Anyhow, Miller High Life has offered to pay his taxes, saying "you should be rewarded for doing the right thing, not penalized." Modell Sporting Goods and Steiner Sports are giving him a minimum of $25,000 each, and he also is getting a 2009 World Series ring out of it, among other things. Topps is putting him on a baseball card, saying that "We thought what he did captures the essence of what baseball and the Topps company is about." (Is that what baseball is all about -- giving away an item worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for free to an millionaire MLB player? Just saying!)

How much the fan will end up with is unclear; some say he won't have to pay taxes on the money, but Ed Behrens, a CPA who lives near Lopez, told the Times Herald-Record Lopez would likely have to pay 28 percent federal tax, and 7 percent city tax, on the money and merchandise the companies gave him. But he did say that the fan "can enjoy his fame and maybe break even in this."

You know, I'm glad Lopez is getting some help for the financial mess he is in, and I hope he does enjoy his 15 minutes of fame. And this damage control on the part of Yankee/MLB sponsors will make his life better. (That's what it is -- damage control. I kinda doubt Lopez would have gotten anything from them if it weren't for 1) the tax stories, and 2) the news about his crazy-expensive student loans!)But I will never believe that giving away a ball worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars for free to a guy worth hundreds of millions is somehow a moral obligation, or the right thing to do. I will never think that a guy still living at home with his parents, who has over $100K in student loans, owed the baseball he rightfully caught to somebody who just built a house the square footage of a supermarket. It's not "classy" to do that -- it's ridiculous. It's the equivalent of scratching off a winning lottery ticket and giving it away to Jeter, just because.

"Doing the right thing" would be returning Jeter's wallet to him if you stumbled upon it without expecting a thing in return. But this ain't it.

Is this what our celebrity-crazed society has become? That Derek Jeter is entitled to a ball for free that his estate could eventually sell for $1 million just because he's famous and people admire him? Puh-lease. Guess what? The 3,000 hit achievement stands, with or without the baseball. I accept that baseball is a business, and everything that goes with it. But don't tell me it's a business, then, that when a fan catches a ball fair and square, he should somehow be expected to to turn it over for free, without expecting a thing in return. There would have been nothing greedy or wrong whatsoever about Lopez selling what he caught, or in giving the captain right of first refusal to pay for the ball.

Oh, and by the way, all Derek Jeter himself has so far personally given to Lopez is a "grip and grin" photo op and a hat with the Captain's picture on it, although he is supposed to sign some memorabilia for him. He certainly didn't help with the tax mess. That's gratitude for you. Will moths will fly out of No. 2's wallet the next time he opens it?


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9 comments:

Uncle Mike said...

What a week, I end up agreeing with "Urinalfresh" more than I agree with Lisa. My head wouldn't be spinning this much if I were on that Green Lantern coaster at Great Adventure. (And you'd have to pay me like Jeter in order to get me on that thing.)

Lisa, if Jeter had simply stroked a single up the middle, we would not know anything about Christian Lopez. He made Lopez famous. And this led to Modell's and the others doing the right thing. I wish some Yankee would inadvertently help me out that way! Heck, I'd settle for Ramiro Pena. He's about due for his 300th career hit, right?

Honestly, Lisa, you write about Jeter the way I write about the Red Sox. The difference is, you're writing maliciously about a player on a team you root for. A player without whom, if the Yankees had not drafted him, we'd still be waiting for the first title since 1978 -- longer than the Pittsburgh Pirates -- and you and I would, today, be as anonymous as Christian Lopez would be.

What next -- you gonna talk trash about the greatest Longhorn of them all, Earl Campbell?

Lisa Swan said...

Mike, I thought you always say that it was Joe Torre who without whom the Yanks would still be waiting for a ring. Now it's Jeter. Which one is it?

And sorry, you may think I'm being malicious, but it's true. It's not too much a player who has made over $250 million in his life to throw some cash at the guy who caught his 3,000th hit, especially in a week where between $2.5 million and $3 million worth of DJ3K memorabilia was sold.

Also, you know darn well that if it were A-Rod being a cheapskate here instead of Jeter, you and everybody else would agree with me.

Granted, if it had been a single, we never would have heard of Lopez. But Jeter would also haven't gotten quite the accolades by hitting some dribbler as #3000, as opposed to the majestic, exciting homer he did.

And by the way, Vince Young, not Earl Campbell, is the greatest Longhorn of all!

Roger 9 said...

lISA...I agree with you 100% concerning Derek Jeter. I am disappointed with his not coming forth to do something more for Christian Lopez other than a photo op and a t-shirt. My disappointment with Jeter goes beyond the ball situation. His turning down the opportunity to appear at the All Star Game because of his "stress and feeling worn down" after his quest for hit number 3000, doesn't impress me. Ted Williams felt he had to show appreciation to baseball fans and appeared at an All Star Game in a wheel chair.
I doubt that Derek Jeter was home relaxing in front of the tv on Tuesday evening and turning in at 10pm.

Uncle Mike said...

Lisa, Jeter would still have made the team if Torre hadn't been the manager; if Torre had a different shortstop, he'd never have gotten into a World Series game without paying for it -- except maybe as a broadcaster.

Also, there are four Longhorns in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tex Schramm is there as an executive, Tom Landry as a coach. Bobby Layne was one of the best quarterbacks of his time, who did something extraordinary by the standards of this era: He led the Detroit Lions to a World Championship -- three times. And then there was Campbell, who defined the fullback position in his era (while Walter Payton was defining halfback). Are you saying Vince Young is a better player than Layne or Campbell? He'll never be a more accomplished one, at least not at the pro level. Maybe he was sabotaged by Jeff Fisher, but even if he gets his career back on track, he's not the greatest Longhorn, any more than the greatest Seminole will be Charlie Ward.

Subway Squawkers said...

Mike, the funny thing is that while you're doing the Count the Rings argument on Jeter, you are missing the point on Vince Young. He is the greatest Longhorn of the all because he single-handedly led the team to victory and a national title in perhaps the greatest National Championship game ever. (And, by the way, not only should he have won the Heisman that year, but he should have gotten it when Reggie Bush's trophy was vacated)

Whether or not VY is a great pro is irrelevant to the Greatest Longhorn ever argument. He got the Longhorns their first national title in 35 years.

Roger, thanks for your note. Love the Ted Williams line!

DaYankeesWin said...

Uncle Mike, don't bother. This woman is delusional. She makes no sense and should seriously consider rooting for another team that doesn't have a #2.

I don't get her point, a lotto ticket and holding a ball hostage are two totally different things. But what do I know, I'm just a guy that would do the 'right thing' with the ball.

I think Lisa is just angry that all these great things happen to Jeter because he's had so much good fortune. She hates the good press he receives, it's a miracle she didn't go off on Uncle Selig for saying how much he admired Jeter.

Some people were meant to be born miserable, I definitely think Lisa qualifies. She's definitely miserable and operates under a motus operandi of self loathing which manifests itself to going off on a Yankee fan favorite. She makes absolutely no sense and her ability to rationalize is probably at the level of a 3rd grader, and that's on a good day.

Uncle Mike, don't waste your time being articulate and using sound reasoning. You just might be too smart for her.

Subway Squawkers said...

Let's review. DaYankeesWin thinks I am "delusional," "makes no sense," and "should seriously consider rooting for another team that doesn't have a #2." He also writes that I am "definitely miserable and operates under a motus operandi of self loathing which manifests itself to going off on a Yankee fan favorite."

So, dearie, what does that make you for hanging on my every word? By the way, it's "modus," not "motus." You should be more careful when using the big words.

And I'm sorry you still don't get my points on Derek Jeter, and can't come up with any response other than variations of "you're so mean" and "you're just jealous." Derek Jeter has been an excellent baseball player in his career. That doesn't make him a great human being, or a better person than his peers. And you are the one "delusional" if you think it does.

The guy who you think is selfless and all about team is marketing his *individual* achievement to death, complete with an official logo featuring, who else, Derek Jeter. The guy who said he was resting during the All-Star Break somehow managed to find the strength to sign thousands of DJ3K balls and bats to sell to fanboys like yourself.

And he was so appreciative of some sap who actually believes the hype about Jeter that he gave him a baseball cap featuring himself to show his appreciation for a 500 grand freebie. Whoopee!

But you and Mike and all the other Jeter-lovers don't have an answer to why your hero is so cheap. All you can do is call me names. Guess what that means -- I win. Again!

Mo said...

Lisa is right and I don't think t his was a mean-spirited article. Here are a couple of salient facts:

- Jeter HAS made this guy semi-famous.
- Jeter didn't ask him to give him the ball.
- The guy has a lot of student loan debt.
- The ball is probably worth a lot of money.
- Jeter has a lot of money.

My conclusions from this:
- Giving up the ball was a moronic move.
- Once giving it up, he should expect nothing in return.
- Jeter should say thanks and move on. He doesn't owe this guy anything.

Kate said...

Lisa I disagree I think what he did was the right thing to do....

He sends the message that he loves and respects baseball; not looking out for himself but for the love of a game that has given him so many memories in his life that are probably priceless.

I do agree that Jeter should have jumped in with a check immediately. Skipping the All-Star Game, which disappointed fans and than to act like a grinch. Jeter is the guy who "does everything the right way" but since he hit 3000...who Jeter is as a person is something we learned about quickly.

I was throughly disappointed in Jeter, and my adoration is gone for the Captain; as he doesn't care about the fans when it counted the most.

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