An economist would actually call the decision not to sell the ball completely rational
Over the weekend, New York Yankee Derek Jeter joined a small club of major leaguers to achieve 3,000 hits. But the hit came with a twist: Jeter crushed it deep over the left-field fence for a homer. So unlike most milestone hits that remain within the park, this one was caught by a fan, 23-year-old Christian Lopez. The real shocker: rather than cash in by auctioning off the ball, he gave it back to Jeter. Is he nuts? An economist would say that his decision was perfectly reasonable.
So how much money might the ball have fetched? According to one Bloomberg report, it almost certainly could have been sold for somewhere between $75,000 and $250,000 at auction. What did he get for giving it back to Jeter? The Yankees did show their appreciation. The New York Daily News reports:
In return for his big-hearted gift the Yanks have given the 6-foot-5, 300-pound Lopez, four luxury box seats for every game of the rest of the season, plus the playoffs.
He also got several signed bats, balls and jerseys and a meeting with Jeter - but the sweetest gift was the love Lopez felt from other Yankees boosters.
Business Insider estimates that the seats alone are probably worth about $40,000. But that's still a ways off a possible $250,000 haul. Did Lopez make a huge mistake?