Yankees News: Fan Refuses to Return Alex Rodriguez’s 660th Home Run Ball
New York Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for 660th place on MLB’s all-time home run list on Friday in a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
According to the NY Post, Mike Shuster, the Red Sox fan who caught the auspicious home run ball, says he will not give the ball to Rodriguez and reportedly has refused all overtures to retrieve the ball including autographed memorabilia by Red Sox DH David Ortiz, an offer that allegedly angered Ortiz.
May 1, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Mike Shuster of Warwick RI shows of the home run ball hit by New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez (13) during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
For A-Rod, hitting the ball out of Fenway Park to give the Yankees the lead may end up being the easy part. Getting the arguably valuable piece of memorabilia returned may end up being a far more arduous task. Shuster, a 25-year old Financial Advisor from Rhode Island, says he does not know what he is going to do with the ball and threatened he may destroy the ball, but also implied that he would like to cash in on his catch saying he was aware that A-Rod was supposed to be paid a $6 million dollar bonus for the milestone.
However, the NY Post has reported that the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman have said they are not willing to pay that bonus as A-Rod and his ascent up the home run record charts are no longer marketable.
The ball was caught in Fenway Park’s Green Monster seats and has quickly become a microcosm of the controversy surrounding A-Rod’s complicated return to the Yankees after his suspension for the entire 2014 season for his role in the BioGenesis scandal. The Yankees may no longer consider Rodriguez’s home runs a milestone, but the fact that everyone involved sees the ball as valuable may belie that claim. The more intrigue surrounding the return of this ball may in fact make it more and more clear that it does have value. Clearly, the fan who caught the ball thinks it has value or he would return it.
As of today, Shuster has reportedly turned down offers made by the Yankees and Red Sox in exchange for the ball. It is fascinating that the saga of what will happen to A-Rod’s milestone home run ball is mirroring the questions of how to feel about A-Rod’s marketing bonus, the home run itself, and possibly even the legacy of not just A-Rod, but of players tarnished by PED suspensions. No one is sure what A-Rod’ legacy will be and in some small way whatever Shuster ends up being paid for A-Rod’s 660th may end up being a small indication of exactly how marketable A-Rod is to baseball and to the Yankees.
What do you think, is A-Rod’s home run record still a marketable one? If you had caught the ball what would you do? What would you ask for?
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