The Fan Who Caught Jeter's Ball Still Has A Few Hundred Thousand Dollars In Student Loan Debt

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Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Christian Lopez probably should have taken an econ class.

Christian Lopez joined WFAN in New York with Ed Randall to discuss if he got any sleep on Saturday night after catching Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, thinking he would catch Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, his thought process as Derek Jeter stepped up to the plate looking for his 3,000th hit, the reaction he's been getting from family and friends after catching Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, there ever being a thought to not give the ball back to Derek Jeter after he caught it and his girlfriend jokingly wanting him to keep the ball so he could sell it and pay off his student loans.


Did you sleep last night?
"Yeah I slept pretty good. I passed out at 11 p.m. and woke up at about 8:45 a.m./9 a.m. and I heard people were calling me for interviews and TV appearances and stuff. I did ESPN this morning at 9:30 a.m. I just finished with channel 12. It's crazy right now."

Is there even a fleeting thought that Derek Jeter would hit the ball to you?
"No when I finally got into the seats I was like ‘We are in home-run territory,' and I'm hoping someone hits a home run in my direction. What's greater than a home run ball? There's no words to say what it is to say what happened."


So what happened when Derek Jeter stepped up to the plate looking for his 3,000th hit? What did you do from your seat?
"I had my camera out, my cell phone out, taking pictures of it and every time a pitch was thrown I was snapping a picture of it. I put it on continuous shot and hit the picture and next thing I know I see the ball in the air when he finally made contact and I just dropped my phone. My dad luckily missed it and the ball just rolled right into me."

What reaction have you been getting from family and friends about catching Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit?
"All crazy stuff like I am a lucky SOB. I can't believe it's you! It couldn't have happened to a better person. Why didn't you sell the ball? You could have been a millionaire! So many different things people were saying, but from my really close family they called my dad right away when they saw me on TV. They saw my dad fly across the stands there. They saw me holding the ball and they were like ‘Holy Crap! That's Christian! Where's my phone? I gotta call his dad.' We got some calls from my godfather and some of my dad's oldest friends. I got calls from my girlfriend's family. She's getting calls from her family all over the country being like is that your boyfriend that caught that? It's crazy. Two of my closest friends called me. I'm taking my best friend to the game today. We're heading out in a half hour or so to try to catch some batting practice."

Was there ever a thought to not give the ball back to Derek Jeter when you caught the 3,000th hit? What did security say to you?
"Well to be honest with you after I caught the ball like you said security was putting a push on me immediately. Next thing I know security is grabbing me and saying ‘I have the package. We have the package. Blah. Blah. Blah.' Eight more security people came around, all around me and my dad. They were taking us around back rooms, elevators, hallways, the stuff fans would dream of seeing. All of a sudden they are like ‘Are you thirsty?' Me and my dad are sweating like crazy because they are having us run through stuff trying to get away from reporters. Finally the head of security sat us down and they are like ‘So what do you want?' I was like ‘Oh wow I didn't really think about this.' I was like ‘I guess I really just want to give the ball to [Derek] Jeter. I mean the guy deserves this.' They were like ‘Oh.' They were like really shocked. [Ed Randall: They must have been stunned?] As soon as the guy stepped out of the office for a couple of minutes he came back and said ‘This is what we are going to do for you. Do you want any balls or jerseys or anything?' I was like ‘Yeah a couple of signed balls. Some jerseys and some bats maybe.' He said ‘Okay we can definitely do that for you.' Then he leaves again and comes back and is like ‘Well would you like season tickets for the rest of the year?' "

Is it true your girlfriend jokingly wanted you to keep the ball so you could pay off student loans?
"Yeah I am a couple of hundred thousand dollars in debt thanks to St.Lawrence University. I mean it's crazy. I guess there are Facebook groups for me trying to raise money for my student loans or something. It's crazy. I woke up to Facebook this morning and I had 278 friend requests. These are people I don't even know."


This post, written by Steven Cuce, appears courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews. For the complete highlights of the interview, as well as audio, click here.

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