NEW YORK, NY - JULY 09:  New York Yankees fan ...

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Christian Lopez may have received the respect of Derek Jeter and the Yankees organization, but apparently that comes with a price. A price charged by the Internal Revenue Service.

Lopez was sitting in the left field bleachers on Saturday at Yankee Stadium when he caught the home run that was Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. After the game, Lopez gave the ball back to the Yankee shortstop without asking for anything in return. For his generosity, however, the Yankees furnished him with 4 front-row seats to the next day’s game, and then 4 Champion’s Club tickets for all Yankee home games for the rest of the year, including the post-season. Jeter also gave Lopez several signed bats, balls, and jerseys. The tickets alone are said to be valued anywhere between $45,000 and $74,000.

Now there’s talk about whether the IRS will treat this as gifts to Lopez, or as income. If it is treated as income, Lopez could owe Uncle Sam somewhere in the neighborhood of $14,000.  Even with the goods and the fame that the young man has gained recently, $14,000 is still an expensive day at the ballpark no matter how you cut it.

Lopez already has quite a bit of bills to pay as it is, as he said he still owes about $100,000 on student loans he accumulated from college.  Family and friends, including his father, could help him with the taxes should the IRS choose to bill him for the role he played in taking part in sports history. Another option could be to sell off some of the tickets, however there is currently no intention to return them to the Yankees. Rumors have already started flying that the Yankees organization or even Jeter himself may step in to help Lopez with his new found government burden.

Still, Lopez remains just as friendly as he was the day that fate brought Jeter’s 3000th into his hands.

“The IRS has a job to do, so I’m not going to hold it against them, but it would be cool if they helped me out a little on this” he said.

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