Right Field

Re: IRS Targeting Fan Who Caught Jeter’s 3,000th Hit

Greg, in reading the article linked to in your Christian Lopez-IRS post or the New York Times version, I was reminded that sometimes the spell of baseball fandom prevails over prudent financial decision making. Here was a 23-year-old living with his parents rent-free and strapped with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans unwittingly putting himself in a position where he now may need to ask his parents and friends for an estimated $14,000 owed (according to the tax partner cited by the Times) in order to hand over a baseball thought to be worth in the neighborhood of $250,000, and which was legally his, to a ballplayer earning $15 million this season. (Relax, Jeter-ites: Derek did nothing wrong here.)

Hopefully, the Yankees brass, who did not appear to warn the Lopez family of potential tax consequences when offering the free tickets and memorabilia, will now do the right thing and help the young man pay for any tax liabilities.

EDIT: Baseball Think Factory commenter “SoSH U at work” sums it up nicely:

. . . [I]f a fan asked me what he should do with a valuable ball, I would certainly advise him to sell it to the highest bidder (or at least, at near market-price to the hitter). I think it’s silly to be sitting in an overpriced seat in an overpriced stadium watching extraordinarily well-compensated individuals, all of whom will defend any and all decisions with “it’s a business,” and think there’s anything honorable about giving your rightfully obtained property away for a pittance.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.


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