Collect or take one for the team

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

If you were lucky enough to hit him, what would you do? It’s a question every fan aiming to catch an Aaron Judge home run should ponder before taking their seats. Once you reach the home run, decisions will come quickly and full of pressure.

On Tuesday the judge scored the 60th home run of his historic season. The count tied him to Babe Ruth’s career record and left him short of fellow Yankee’s AL record Roger Maris. The judge’s next home run – assuming he hits him – will tie Maris and command a small fortune on the collector’s market. How would you register no. 62. Any home runs that the judge hits from there would likewise carry the collector’s value with his last longball of the season officially setting the new score and possibly earning the highest price.

Fans who secure these balls will face a number of options: 1. Keep it. 2. Sell it. 3. Give it away. 4. Return it to the judge and the Yankees. 5. Negotiate with the judge and the Yankees.

The pressure at this time will be intense and will tend heavily to options 4 and 5, particularly for Yankees fans at Yankee Stadium. Security will likely be there to provide an escort, as was Michael Kessler, the fan who captured the No. 60 on Tuesday. At that point, it’s time for decision.

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 everyone walked away with autographed baseballs. Kessler also took home an autographed bat.

But it did not start with n. 60 baseball. Which he gave to the judge.

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

“This is history,” Kessler explained to reporters. “Any way I could give back to Judge, he has given so much to the organization – just do my part.”

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

Is it fair trade? Is there really a moral imperative for a fan as Kessler to “just do my part?” The high-end appraised value of the ball is life-changing money for many in their twenties. The low-end estimate of $ 50,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

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

September 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, United States; Fans watch as New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) beat 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 wish. But that’s not how these scenarios play out. Teams tend to offer packages that include memorabilia and season tickets when high-risk footballs are involved. Tom Brady gave the fan that he returned his 600th touchdown ball a bitcoin valued at $ 63,000 then – and now considerably lower. 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 kept it to get as much leverage as possible.”

This is not to say that the Yankees and the judge are obligated to offer fans fair market value. If they don’t want to, that’s fine. At the same time, fans aren’t obligated to give them the ball in exchange for some autographed gear and a welcome match. Under no other circumstance should an American who legally and rightly stumble upon a payday of over six figures should simply give up. But that’s the dynamic that will unfold in fan conversations, airwaves, and social media around Judge’s home runs.

In the meantime, the stakes will only rise as we move forward. The same industry experts who put a price on n. 60 estimated that n. 61 and 62 and the last home run of the judge season will command a range of $ 150,000 to $ 1 million more. If you’re lucky enough to get one, it’s best to have a plan in place already.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: