In the end, it seems to have turned out well for Christian Lopez. The 23 year-old cell phone sales rep barely had time to enjoy the gifts bestowed on him by the Yankees for returning Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit ball when the tax man made himself known. Facing a potentially sizable tax bill, Miller High Life said the company would cover Lopez's tab. It was also announced that Lopez would be getting his own baseball card from Topps in honor of his unselfish act.
The tax implications of the more than $55,000 worth of tickets and memorabilia came into focus almost immediately with some estimating that Lopez would owe as much as $14,000. It seemed that fate was destined to punish Lopez for his selfless gesture. The young man from Highland Mills, New York had already revealed that he has massive college debts for a degree that he's been unable to use thus far, working for Verizon.
In spite of all this, Miller High Life announced they would be covering all the taxes from his Yankees haul. Company brand manager Brendan Noonan said in an issued statement, "Miller High Life believes you should be rewarded for doing the right thing, not penalized."
Brandon Steiner of Steiner Sports has announced the creation of a memorabilia auction that will include baseballs signed by both Jeter and Lopez. Steiner has pledged at least $25,000 will go to Lopez. Additionally, sporting goods chain Modell's has announced that five percent of all Yankees merchandise sold at their stores between July 13th and 19th would be donated to Lopez to help with his taxes and student loans as a part of their "Christian Lopez Week." Modell has guaranteed Lopez will receive a minimum of $25,000, bringing him a total of at least $50,000 to help with his student loan debt. On top of all that, Modell gave Lopez a 2009 Yankees World Series ring that he received for being an official sponsor of the team.
In another interesting development, Topps has announced that a baseball card featuring Lopez will appear in their products later this year. Lopez will also be able to choose the image used on a 2012 Derek Jeter card.
Although praised by many, the 2010 St. Lawrence University graduate also caught heat from the media and Internet community for giving back the milestone ball when he could have sold it to cover all his debt or give the money to charity. Lopez was even labeled a fool, idiot, moron and many other unflattering terms. Lopez made the decision to do what he viewed as the, "right thing to do," and never backed away from that decision. He can now enjoy his memorabilia and seats in peace without having to worry about the tax burden.