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Sell It on Ebay or Pay the IRS?

Christian Lopez had quite a day on Saturday.  When Derek Jeter hit number 3,000 into the left field seats, not only was it another great moment in Yankees history (yet another reason to be a Yankees fan), but a life-long Yankees fan caught the ball.  What a thrill for a loyal fan hoping to see another great moment at Yankee Stadium.

Good guy that he is, Mr. Lopez promptly gave the treasured ball to Derek Jeter.  Mind you, some say the ball was worth between 200-400K if Mr. Lopez sold it to the highest bidder!  Instead, he said the ball was rightly Jeter's and all he wanted was a hand shake from the man himself.

The Yankees obliged.  The 23-year old Mr. Lopez shook Jeter's hand as the cameras rolled, and the media hailed the young man as a sort of hero for so willingly giving up the ball to the Yankee captain.  Because of his graciousness, in return the Yankees gave Mr. Lopez several Jeter signed bats, balls, and jerseys plus season tickets in the top-end luxury suite, and for the post season, if there is one.  All those goodies, apparently, are worth more than $32,000.00.

Enter the IRS who will likely stick Mr. Lopez with a bill between 5K and 13K.  They say the same rules apply here as those who win prizes on Game Shows.  I'm not buying it.  Given my disdain for all things associated with the IRS--and yes, it is hard to think clearly about 2K issues when I dislike the DC Beltway crowd so much for both personal and political reasons--I see this as yet another illustration of Uncle Sam's shamlessness in picking our wallets to pay for his over-indulgence.  I'm all for rendering to Caesar, but . . .

Quite a dilemma.  Meet Derek Jeter, get some cool stuff, plus a bill for $13,000.00?  Or might it have been better to just drop the ball?  If I had caught it, and had my wits about me, I would have told everyone my name is "Zrim."

Reader Comments (22)

Christian Lopez is being unfairly treated by the IRS, but also was treated unfairly by the Yankees. This man and his father are unsophisticated folk who were spirited away by Yankee security personnel into the bowels of the stadium and asked on the spot what he wanted for the ball. They took advantage of a naive and unschooled couple of fans. Christian Lopez should have demanded $200,000 or said he'd put it on the market. The Yankees could have paid that sum out of petty cash, as could Jeter. Jeter has made $200 million off baseball in his career. I think he could afford to have paid this poor fan what the ball was worth. Shame on the Yankees. They are not called the Evil Empire for nothing.
July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCVanDyke
He could of course have refused the gifts, or he could donate some of the items to a charity and get a tax write off to offset his bill.

I am of two minds on things like this: Part of me says if you are given a gift then you should not have to pay taxes on it unless you dispose of it. So if someone gives you an autographed ball that is worth say 200k then you would not pay taxes on it until you sold it or otherwise disposed of it. The other part of me says that in a gain then Uncle sam gets his cut.

Of course I am not a tax lawyer by any means and this simply shows the problems with our current tax code. A nationwide sales tax or VAT would solve a lot of issues like this. Just make certain that things like food or non durable medical supplies are not taxable under that system.
July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterR.K. Brumbelow
The ball belongs to the fan so he can do with it whatever he wants to do with it. I don't understand people who think the ball belongs to Jeter. Nor do I have the slightest idea why it would be a good thing to give it to Jeter. Personally, I wouldn't pay three dollars for the baseball even if it was hit by a famous ball player. Apparently the baseball experiences a kind of transubstatiation of sorts in the minds of some people if it is hit by a famous player. But since I don't believe in transubstantiation (it's still just a baseball), the fan should've made some money for the benefit of his own family, taking advantage of the insanity of those who think a baseball is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!
July 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill Weber
Come on CVD; the Yankees are a corporation, just like any other professional team. Protecting their interests is what they are about.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
"Personally, I wouldn't pay three dollars for the baseball even if it was hit by a famous ball player."

I bet you would pay a few bucks for Calvin's monogrammed bowling ball.

(Just a joke there, the Calvin/Knox bowling thing is probably just legend:
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad
Of course the Yanks were protecting their interests, which is my point. The young man was foolish, and the Yanks and Jeter were callous. But baseball was always supposed to float above venal business interests and put the game and the fans ahead of the dollar. That's why the nation gave MLB an exemption from the antitrust rules. When a team acts venally or like any other business, I'd like to see them tarred with a some moral opprobrium and bad PR -- businesses respond to PR. I think the Yankess and Jeter get a pass from the sports media because, well, they're the Yankees and the Jeter. If this had been another team and another player, I can just hear Mike and Mike calling them out for rolling over a poor Hispanic from the projects.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCVanDyke
IRS/TSA: Tyranny Twins
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam
William, I hear that because of the TSA cases of end stage prostate cancer are going down, so thats one "good" thing. (thats a tacky joke for anyone who thinks I was being serious)
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterR.K. Brumbelow
I'd be selling my second luxury seat tickets to the highest bidder, every only, please :)
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBBywaters
From what I understand, any ball that is hit into the stands is property of the fan that catches it. Mr. Lopez is said to owe over one hundred thousand dollars in student loans. An older fan probably would have kept the ball and sold it for the asking price (500 thousand to possibly one million dollars). Mr. Lopez--being only 23 years old--gave the ball back when he should have kept it and sold it.

If Jeter and the Yankees wanted the ball that badly they could have paid Mr. Lopez what the ball is now worth.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Hey, Lloyd,

I thought the highlight of yesterday's All Star game was seeing and hearing goold old Gracie interviewing Justin Timberlake about Justin's likes and dislikes while ignoring the game and standing around the pool. Someone needs to put Mark out to pasture, along with the other dim bulb, Sutton.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Babseball was "always supposed to float above venal business interests"? Are you kidding me? That idea went out with the dumb cluck owner of the Red Sox who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees! Get real!
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
Richard -

Do what a lot of Diamondbacks fans do, turn down the T.V. announcers and listen to Greg Schulte on the radio. Schulte does a great job.

I also like Mark Grace.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
That claim might be sort of dubious, Kim, since I attend tennis matches and not baseball games. I'm the one not holding a "John 3:16" sign. You know, blending in and not wearing my religion on my sleeve and all that.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZrim

You mean you are NOT out to transform tennis for Christ? Man, what type of Kuyperian are you?
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
Zrim -

Living in Michigan it might be fun to go to a Tigers game. They have a great baseball tradition!
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
I heard on the beacon of truth (Rush Limbaugh) that he was not going to have to pay taxes because of the changes in how the IRS taxes gifts. Either way, it is annoying to even have to worry about such a thing.
July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Holst
Richard, paleo-Calvinist as opposed to neo-Kuyperian. But I'll leave transforming tennis to Roger Federer who has brought tennis back to the old school. Nadal is such a new schooler with his power and clam-diggers.
July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Lloyd, right, if I want to take my life into my own hands by actually going to Gotham City, I mean Detroit (though I do understand Comerica park is nice). But I'll take Flushing Meadows in September, a grity but safe side of NYC that Tim Keller hasn't managed to redeem yet. When is he going to get beer at Authur Ashe down from $7 a pop? Redeemed city indeed.
July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
If you think redeemed beer is going to be cheap, you have another thing coming. You'll have to stick with your pagan beer for now.
July 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Holst

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