All across TV Land and the Forest of the Internets, people have spent much of Monday castigating Yankees fan Christian Lopez for his rather innocent decision to return Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit to Jeter rather than selling it off to the highest bidder.
Surely this attitude must be a joke, I thought to myself. We haven’t really grown this greedy, cynical and focused on our own personal bottom line over everything else, have we?
A whopping 68.9 percent of people polled on NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk blog would have held out for the money. Talk about a discouraging stat.
People are calling Lopez an idiot because he still has over $100,000 in college debt to pay off, a figure he surely could have erased had he sold the ball. But what these people don’t realize is that Lopez likely opened a lot more doors in life by doing the honorable thing.
What boss, besides one that works on Wall Street or K Street, wouldn’t want a guy like Christian Lopez in his employ? Perhaps in the offseason some company will find a way to put him in a commercial with Jeter. Who knows? All I know is, had he kept the ball for the money, he’d be just another anonymous asshole that would never be remembered. Instead, he has managed to turn himself into the anti-Jeffrey Maier — a Yankee fan that we can like. (Ironically, both fans caught balls hit by Jeter, though they will be remembered far differently by fans of fair play).
Christian Lopez may have walked away from a ton of money, but what he does have is the story of a lifetime. The time he caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit and got to meet the man himself. Season tickets for the rest of the year in a suite, which is indeed pretty sweet.
And on top of it, the admiration of us in the minority who feel that there are some things in life that hold greater value than dollar signs. The more Christian Lopezes we have in society, the better off we’ll be.