‘I don’t want money’ says fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 2,000th RBI ball

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Albert Pujols‘ 2,000th RBI came on a solo homer into the Comerica Park bleachers. The fan who caught it, a 33-year-old law student and father-to-be named Ely Hydes, left the park with it. He didn’t get it authenticated and he didn’t accept any of the Tigers’ officials’ offers of swag in exchange.

It was a decision that led to a lot of people online wondering what was wrong with him. How do you not get an autographed baseball, a jersey and a meet-and-greet from Albert Pujols?! How do you not know that the ball will be worth something on memorabilia market one day and think about cashing in?

As this story from Tony Paul of the Detroit News makes clear, however, Hydes isn’t really operating on that level. And it’s rather refreshing to hear:

“I don’t want money,” he told The News. “I don’t care . . . don’t care about the money. It’s an heirloom.”

It’s worth noting, also, that according to Hydes, the Tigers officials who came to him to try to barter for the ball were giving him the hard sell and being somewhat jerky about it.

For what it’s worth, Pujols — who I’m sure has more than his fair share of memorabilia from his illustrious career — was equally zen about the whole thing:

“He can keep it. It’s a great memory for him. I mean we play this game for the fans, and it’s a piece of history that he’s going to have for the rest of his life.”

If the guy who hit it is cool with it and the guy who caught it is cool with it, I think that’s the end of the story.


AP Source: Minor leaguers reach five-year labor deal with MLB

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
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NEW YORK – Minor league players reached a historic initial collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball on Wednesday that will more than double player salaries, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details were not announced.

As part of the five-year deal, MLB agreed during the contract not to reduce minor league affiliates from the current 120.

The sides reached the deal two days before the start of the minor league season and hours after a federal judge gave final approval to a $185 million settlement reached with MLB last May of a lawsuit filed in 2014 alleging violations of federal minimum wage laws.

Union staff recommended approval and about 5,500 minor leaguers were expected to vote on Thursday. MLB teams must also vote to approve and are expected to do so over the next week.

Minimum salaries will rise from $4,800 to $19,800 at rookie ball, $11,000 to $26,200 at Low Class A, $11,000 to $27,300 at High Class A, $13,800 to $27,300 at Double A and $17,500 to $45,800 at Triple-A. Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time.

Most players will be guaranteed housing, and players at Double-A and Triple-A will be given a single room. Players below Double-A will have the option of exchanging club housing for a stipend. The domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement. Players who sign for the first time at 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.

Major leaguers have been covered by a labor contract since 1968 and the average salary has soared from $17,000 in 1967 to an average of $4.22 million last season. Full-season minor leaguers earned as little as $10,400 last year.

The Major League Baseball Players Association took over as the bargaining representative of the roughly 5,500 players with minor league contracts last September after a lightning 17-day organization drive.

Minor leaguers players will receive four weeks of retroactive spring training pay for this year. They will get $625 weekly for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 weekly for offseason workouts at home.

Beginning in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.

The union will take over group licensing rights for players.

Negotiating for players was led by Tony Clark, Bruce Meyer, Harry Marino, Ian Penny and Matt Nussbaum. MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem headed management’s bargainers.