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Thursday, October 08, 2009
Two thoughts on Howard's home run ball

Three thoughts on the story Mark discusses about Ryan Howard's home run ball. Because I find this story really sad.

First, this seems like a bad trade for Ms. Valdivia and her family. If the Barry Bonds home run ball fiasco taught us anything, it is that "historic" home run balls do not have nearly as much value as many fans assume. Her attorney is described as a "memorabilia enthusiast," so he probably knows something about value that I don't. But the ball is unique only because of the "fastest-to" mark that is a largely meaningless, made-up record. If Ryan Howard goes to the Hall of Fame (and I believe he will, at his current pace), will an autograph really be worth less than his 200th home run?

Second, Ms. Valdivia, her family, and her lawyer are hereby estopped from ever again complaining about greedy professional athletes who only care about money and not the game. And so is everyone else who believes the family was in the right here. Howard wanted the ball for his personal satisfaction, because it represented an accomplishment that, in the long run, is meaningful to him. He offered something of value in return. And the girl's family sued because, in crassest terms, they wanted more money (or more value).

Third, I wonder what she did with the autographed ball the Phillies originally gave her in exchange. Did she keep it? That would give her quite a windfall, to which she is not entitled. Of course, if the Phillies had asked for it back in settling a rescission claim, we would be hearing all sorts of shouts about the greedy team/player taking back what they had given this innocent fan.


Touche Howard. Thanks for the updated information. I would love to see the complaint!

Blogger Mark Conrad -- 10/08/2009 3:48 PM  

ink that both sides are in the wrong here. First, I despise fans that try to hold up a homerun ball for a ranson when that ball represents something meaningful to the player (see Jose Lopez from this year) but at the same time, a player shouldn't expect to just trade an autograph for a ball if it really does have some personal meaning to the player (say a first home run or some other individual milestone).

On the other hand, if the ball does have some value, why shouldn't the fan be paid for it? Why should a fan just give it away if the fan has a chance to make some money off the ball, and why does a player think that he should just be given the ball for some nominal or token gesture. If the player wants the ball, pay up and give the fan what might be fair market value for the ball.

I have no idea what kind of value this baseball may have on the open market, but I suspect it is worth more than a mere autographed baseball from Howard or any of the other Phillies. Shame on Howard (or team officials) for trying to pull a fast one on a 12 year old. But, at the same time, this 12 year old, her parents, and their attorney shouldn't hold the ball hostage. Does the ball hold some meaning for the 12 year old or is this just a straight up money grab by her and her family? I guess we will find out in time.

Suggestion: Have the IRS get involved and tax the girl and her family on the FMV of the ball. I suspect we will find out quickly whether or not she is in this for the money or not after that.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 10/08/2009 6:54 PM  

Matt Carson and Chris Coghlan went through similar ordeals this year trying to get home run balls back.

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