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Yankees Need to Offer Better Deal for Aaron Judge’s 61st, 62nd HRs

Yankees Need to Offer Better Deal for Aaron Judge’s 61st, 62nd HRs article feature image
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Picture by Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Judge.

The lottery winner from Tuesday night’s Yankees game was Michael Kessler, a 20-year-old fan and college baseball player who caught Aaron Judge’s 60th home run of the season.

The Yankees offered Kessler a predictably underwhelming prize — and he took it.

The trade off? The ball that tied Babe Ruth was bartered for four signed baseballs, a signed bat and a quick meet up with Judge to take some pictures. The most valuable part of the offer? The pictures, especially in today’s social media era. The rest of the lot? Worth $1,500 tops.

The Yankees are frankly lucky that they even got the ball, along with the previous ones he hit (56, 57 and 58), but odds will seriously decrease for No. 61, the one that ties Roger Maris for the all-time Yankees and American League record and No. 62, the AL record breaker.

While No. 60 is worth around $100,000, No. 61, according to memorabilia insiders canvassed by the Action Network, could be worth $1 million. No. 62 could surpass $5 million.

Meeting Judge is thrilling, especially after a big milestone moment, but the trade has to be fair. The chances that the Yankees will get baseballs back for the next two HRs are a massive longshot if they continue to offer incredibly unfair deals.

On Tuesday night, after Judge cranked No. 60, I put a poll on Twitter.

If you caught Aaron Judge’s Home Run ball No. 62, what would you do?

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 21, 2022

The 27% that would be willing to give the ball back to Judge or the Yankees is a higher number than I thought, but many fans wrote in that it would have to be for fair market value.

For argument’s sake, let’s put fair market value at $500,000 for No. 61 and $1 million for No. 62. What should the Yankees do?

Giving season tickets becomes complicated because of the league revenue sharing rules. But if I’m the Yankees, I’m calling all my sponsors today to arrange a package. The sponsors will get the additional publicity from media coverage.

In order to get the baseballs, I would give the fans some combination of:

  • A 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R (MSRP: $109,000)
  • A $5,000 credit with PSA to grade their cards and memorabilia
  • A free phone every year from T-Mobile
  • A $25,000 certificate from Delta for flights
  • Free car and home insurance for life from State Farm
  • Free food for five years from Jersey Mike’s
  • Free Pepsi products for five years delivered to home
  • Free Clear membership for life
  • Free Avis rent-a-car for life

Why should the Yankees work hard to do this? Because what they offered the kid is embarrassing. It’s a PR nightmare. The appearance that they fleeced the young man is just a bad look.

Use the time before the next one to make a package that gives the team a chance to get the ball and to offer the fan something that is even remotely a fair deal.

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