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Albert Pujols 2,000 RBI Drama - Fan Refuses to Return the Ball

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On Thursday in triumphant fashion, Albert Pujols became the third player in MLB history to reach 2,000 RBI. Number 2,000 came off a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers. The Angels star joins Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to accomplish this feat. This historic moment was not without controversy, as the fan that caught the home run and 2,000th RBI, refused to return it to Major League Baseball, claiming that Tigers management treated him “terribly”.

“I’m sorry if no one can ‘authenticate’ it, but the only reason I ended up with it is because Tigers management treated me so terribly,” said Ely Hydes, the fan that caught the monumental ball. Hydes left the stadium without getting the ball authenticated by the MLB; this means he won’t be able to sell it due to it never being confirmed as the official 2,000th RBI ball. The fan received countless offers from the Tigers and Angels organizations, from signed memorabilia, a meet-and-greet with Pujols, to large cash proposals, all turned down because “I just couldn’t take being treated like a garbage bag.”

Despite the outrage from those who think the fan should return the ball, Albert Pujols himself has no issue with the fan keeping it. “I told the guys, ‘Just leave it. Just let him have it.’ I think he can have a great piece of history,” Pujols said in a post-game interview. “We play this game for the fans, too, and if they want to keep it, I think they have the right. I just hope he can enjoy.” When asked if he would ever personally pay real cash for the ball, Pujols said, “I wouldn’t pay one penny for that.” Pujols went on to say that the fan has a right to keep it, it went into the stands.

Hydes is not impressed by physical gifts and money, to him, the memory is more important. Having a piece of baseball history, or an “heirloom” as he calls it, is more meaningful than anything they can offer him. This along with the way he claims management treated him, leads way to an easy decision to keep the ball, even if down the line he is now the only one who knows it’s the “real” ball.

Even with his resentment of the way the Tigers and Angels staff treated him, Hydes has nothing but respect for Albert Pujols, calling him a “class act” for how he handled the situation. In a Facebook post addressing the drama, Hydes acknowledged Pujols’s comment that he wouldn’t pay a penny for the ball with the response, "You wouldn't pay me a penny for the ball, and I wouldn't take a penny. I'd be more likely to give it up over beers in LA."

What would you do? What would it take for you to give up the ball? Let us know in the comment section.

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