When New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez launched a home run into the seats at Yankee Stadium for his 3,000th career hit in June, it seemed as though he would never get the ball back, but the dynamic changed Friday, as the Yanks negotiated a deal with the fan who caught it.

According to the Yankees’ official Twitter account, Zack Hample, who is well-known for his pursuit of souvenir baseballs, has agreed to present A-Rod with the ball Friday in exchange for a $150,000 donation to the Pitch In for Baseball charity.

Hample will receive some additional nonmonetary compensation as well, per ESPN’s Darren Rovell:

The decision to give the ball to the 39-year-old designated hitter represents a significant change of heart of Hample’s part, as he initially planned to keep it:

Hample did concede that the ball might become available if he received an offer to his liking, though, according to ESPN.com:

I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me. I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I’m not giving it back for—I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and full autographed bats because I don’t collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me. I can’t believe that I got it.

While Hample will ultimately benefit from the exchange, the fact that a charity is involved makes it a much more meaningful and fulfilling transaction than most probably expected.

Also, the Yankees’ decision to go to bat for A-Rod is significant because it wasn’t long ago that the two sides had an extremely tenuous relationship due to his year-long suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Things have changed this season, as Rodriguez has carried himself in an ideal manner, and he has also produced on the field to the tune of a .280 batting average, 15 home runs and 45 RBI for the AL East-leading Bronx Bombers.

A-Rod’s reputation remains tarnished as far as the sport of baseball is concerned, but this gesture suggests that he is once again back in the Big Apple’s good graces. 


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