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."