On Saturday, July 9, 2011, Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit as a major league ball player - a feat that will surely secure his place in the Hall of Fame (on the first ballot, natch). His hit? A home run (he's only the second player to do that - Wade Boggs was the first). He went on to go 5 for 5 on the day, even hitting in the winning run.
One of the first things I thought (in my car, with my phone buzzing) was, what will happen to the ball?
Most people would see a payday. After all - if you catch a ball that flies into the stands, it's yours. So, the person who caught this ball had every right to leave the stadium and keep the ball for himself, or put it up on ebay, or lock it in a safe deposit box.
But he didn't do any of that. Instead, Christian Lopez told security personnel that all he wanted was to give the ball to Jeter.
"He deserves this; he worked hard for it."This seriously cool guy ended up meeting Jeter; he was also given some autographed merchandise and luxury box tickets by the Yankees. So he made out pretty well. Could he have gotten more? Sure. He could have named his price and maybe Jeter would have paid it. The thing is - who does that? Who looks at someone else's achievment and sees only what could be in it for him?
Not a real fan; not Christian Lopez. He saw the chance to create a memory for a lifetime, and the chance to do the right thing, no matter what.
That's class. It's class even worthy of Jeter.