On Friday, the New York Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez hit a home run for his 3,000th career hit. As soon as a fan named Zack Hample caught the ball, a drumbeat began: Hample should give the ball back to Rodriguez. No!
Gentle reader, I am sad to report that the chorus of voices telling Zack Hample that he should give this valuable souvenir back to Alex Rodriguez included not just the New York Yankees organization (which “offered him memorabilia, a chance to be on television, his own press conference and tickets”) and Alex Rodriguez himself (who complained that he was “not so lucky” as teammate Derek Jeter, who had his 3,000th hit ball returned by an exceedingly—some might say insanely—gracious fan), but also by random Yankee fans in the stadium and on Twitter, and, most shockingly, by members of the national media, including ESPN talking heads (who droned on at length this weekend about how bad a person Hample is for keeping the ball), and various low-level sports pundits who voiced the opinion that giving this historic souvenir back to A-Rod would be the classy thing to do.
That is dumb as hell.
Zack Hample is a notoriously prolific ballhawk who has snagged thousands of baseballs during his quasi-career, and is therefore rather unpopular in some precincts. That fact does not matter in this case. What matters here is: a person of relatively regular means was lucky enough to find himself in possession of a souvenir of great worth—an item that could probably sell for several hundred thousand dollars on the open market. The person who wants to obtain this souvenir is one of the highest-paid professional athletes in American history.
This is what money was invented for. Buy your stupid ball if you want it, A-Rod.
How the hell are we ever going to win the class war if regular people are expected to make donations of great value to millionaires?