Christian Lopez made headlines earlier this week after catching New York Yankee Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit and then opting to give it to Jeter instead of selling it on the open market. The Yankees organization rewarded him with signed team merchandise and season tickets in a luxury suite for the rest of the season. After reports came out about Lopez's high student loans and rumors of a tax hit started swirling earlier this week, companies have begun to support the fan financially. Two companies have offered Lopez at least $50,000 on Wednesday, and another offered to foot any IRS bill he may be served with.
The New York Times' Tim Stelloh reports that the owner of a sporting goods store and the owner of a sports memorabilia website have teamed up to lighten the 23 year old's financial burden.
Surrounded by Yankees T-shirts, hats and other merchandise, Mitchell Modell, chief executive of Modell’s Sporting Goods, and Brandon Steiner, chief of the memorabilia company Steiner Sports, pledged Mr. Lopez $25,000 each at a Modell’s shop off Times Square.
Modell also gave the fan his 2009 World Series ring (valued at $40,000) and 5% of all the Yankee apparel sales over the next week will go to Lopez. The ring, as we learned earlier this week, is a gift, and therefore will not be taxed. ESPN is reporting that Miller High Life sent out a press release offering to fit any IRS bill stemming that the fan might accrue from the season tickets and signed merchandise he received after giving the ball back.