With His 3,000th Hit, Derek Jeter Does His Part in the Deficit Debate

The Yankee Captain's 3,000th hit cleared the wall in left field and landed in the IRS's lap. That's because the kid who caught the ball and gave it back to the Yankees might owe taxes on tickets and memorabilia they gave him in return.

For Christian Lopez, the 23-year-old fan who came up with Jeter's 3,000th hit at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, the ramifications of his gift from above are as American as baseball, hot dogs and taxes.

"There's different ways the I.R.S. could try to characterize a ball caught by a fan in the stands," said Andrew D. Appleby, a tax associate at the Sutherland Asbill & Brennan law firm in New York who has written about the tax implications of souvenir baseballs. "But when the Yankees give him all those things, it's much more clear-cut that he owes taxes on what they give him."

Jeter's defensive skills might be down this year, but his revenue enhancing VORP has never been higher. At least somebody's doing his job to raise federal government revenue and bring down the deficit.