Christian Lopez, the lucky New York Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, just got what he called the coolest perk of them all: a 2009 World Series ring.
This gift came courtesy of Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, who got the ring because Modell’s sponsors the Yankees. That wasn’t all Modell gave Lopez: Lopez will receive five percent of the entire chain's Yankees merchandise sales for one week. Both Modell and Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports, guaranteed Lopez at least $25,000 each.
Modell called Lopez “truly a true New Yorker” and “a class act” and Steiner taught Lopez how to properly sign a baseball.
Wearing a broad smile, a personalized Yankee hat, a DJ3K shirt and a new piece of jewelry, Lopez admitted at Modell’s in Times Square he was “absolutely speechless right now.”
Lopez hadn’t heard about Miller High Life’s offer to cover his tax bill, but that would mean the Steiner and Modell’s money could go to pay off his $150,000 of debt, generated by student loans.
The 23-year old had no regrets about giving the ball back to the Yankees. "Right now, I’m living in the moment,” he said. So far the cellphone salesman’s moments included meeting Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre and Joe Girardi, signing an Indian rupee for one Yankee fan and being asked by another how Jeter’s hand felt when he shook it. "It felt kind of soft, but like any other hand," Lopez replied.