Aaron Judge was one swing away on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium from hitting his 60th home run of the year, which would have made him one of only six players in baseball history to do so. That made the ball that eventually crossed the fence extremely valuable, making left field in the Bronx the best place to be given that Judge has hit the majority of his home runs this season there.
Naturally, the Darren Rovells of the social media world were throwing around all kinds of dollar amounts. What is the value of that ball? $20,000? $100,000? $500,000? $one million? Doctor Evil voice * A BILLION DOLLARS? WHAT THE HELL? Although it was never going to be a billion dollars, the winner of the ball in the scrum could still earn six- and seven-figure sums.
The Yankee supporter who caught Judge’s solo shot to the left-field bleachers in the bottom of the ninth was 20-year-old New Yorker Michael Kessler. He was given an astounding sum of $0 in return. WHAT, oh WHAT?
This young man received the expected amount of online abuse. They cried out, “FLEECED.” They yelled, “I would have been negotiating there all night!” There followed additional, inappropriate name-calling. They all overlooked the fact that Kessler seems to be an offensively nice person and quite possibly the purest baseball fan alive, despite the fact that some of the points made were undoubtedly valid.
With this decision, Kessler may have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars, but being a genuinely good person is something that cannot be bought. It takes a very kind heart to choose not to act greedily in circumstances where everyone would blame you for doing so. By the way, Kessler merits a plaque in Monument Park if it turns out that he worked to get Judge to return for the upcoming season.
Aaron Judge, his friends, and a Yankee legend. Excellent night for Kessler, who won’t look back on this decision in 20 years (hopefully).