Cash in or grab one for the team

Cash in or grab one for the team

For the rest of the season, an outfield seat for a New York Yankees game is a lottery ticket.

If you had the chance to touch it, what would you do? It’s a question that any fan aiming to catch an Aaron Judge home run should think about before sitting down. Once that home run is hit, decisions are going to come quickly and under pressure.

Judge hit the 60th homer of his historic season on Tuesday. The tally tied it for Babe Ruth’s career high and left her a short of fellow Yankee Roger Maris’ AL record. The next ball from the judge’s home run – assuming he hits it – will tie Maris and command a small fortune in the collectors’ market. As would record No. 62. Every home judge hit from then on would also have collector value with his final longball of the season officially setting the new mark – and possibly securing the highest prize. raised.

Fans securing these balls will be faced with a number of options: 1. Keep them. 2. Sell it. 3. Give it away. 4. Give it back to the judge and the Yankees. 5. Negotiate with Judge and the Yankees.

The pressure right now will be intense and lean heavily towards options 4 and 5 – especially for Yankees fans at Yankee Stadium. Security will likely be there to provide an escort – as was the case for Michael Kessler, the fan who landed number 60 on Tuesday. At that point, it’s decision time.

Kessler is a 20-year-old Yankees fan who wore a Yankees jersey on Tuesday. After meeting with security, he and his friends met with Judge after the game. They took pictures with Judge and all walked away with autographed baseballs. Kessler also won an autographed bat.

But he didn’t leave with the #60 baseball. Which he gave to the judge.

He explained his decision to reporters before meeting with the Yankees slugger.

“That’s ancient history,” Kessler told reporters. “I could give back to Judge anyway, he’s given so much to the organization – just do my part.”

For Kessler, it was obviously a great night — one he will tell stories about and one that surely exceeded the expectations he had for his Tuesday. Meanwhile, the ball he returned is estimated by several industry experts at six figures. Auction’s Ken Goldin Goldin told Action Network’s Darren Rovell he expected it to fetch $150,000 on the open market. Brahm Wachter of Sotheby’s appraised it at $100,000. David Kohler of SCP Auctions placed a value of $50,000 to $70,000 on the ball.

Is it fair trade? Is there really a moral imperative for a fan in Kessler’s shoes to “just do my part?” The high-end estimated value of the ball is life-changing money for many 20-somethings. The low estimate of $50,000 is not to be overlooked.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are not a charity. They are worth $6 billion. Judge has more than $36 million in career earnings and was in a position last offseason to turn down a $213 million contract offer from the Yankees. He will command much more as a free agent after posting one of the best seasons in baseball history.

September 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Fans watch as New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) bats the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and the Judge are in a good position to offer fair market value for a ball – if they want to. But that’s not how these scenarios play out. Teams tend to offer packages that include memorabilia and season tickets when high-stakes balls are involved. Tom Brady gave the fan who returned his 600th touchdown bitcoin worth then $63,000 – and now much less. He also acknowledged that the fan should have kept the ball.

“Byron realized he lost all his leverage once he gave the ball away,” Brady said on a “Monday Night Football” broadcast. “He should have held it to have as much weight as possible.”

That’s not to say the Yankees and Judge are obligated to offer fans fair market value. If they don’t want to, so much the better. At the same time, fans don’t have to just give them the ball in exchange for autographed gear and a match. Under no other circumstances should an American who legally and rightfully falls on a six-figure-plus salary just give it up. But it’s the dynamic that will play out in conversations among fans, on the airwaves and on social media around Judge’s home run balls.

Meanwhile, the stakes moving forward will only rise. The same industry experts who put a price tag on No. 60 estimated that No. 61 and 62 and the judge’s final home run of the season will cost between $150,000 and over $1 million. . If you’re lucky enough to grab one, it’s best to already have a plan in place.

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