Modell’s, Miller High Life To Rescue Yanks Fan Christian Lopez From Tax Burden; Topps To Make Card
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Christian Lopez, the Yankees superfan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit on Saturday, is about to get some much-needed help from sporting goods giant Modell’s.
He’s also about to get his own baseball card. Topps will produce a trading card featuring Lopez that will be included in sets later this year. Company vice president for sports Mark Sapir says Topps employees were impressed by Lopez’s selfless act.
Sapir says Topps also will have Lopez choose the image for its 2012 Derek Jeter card.
It was reported on Tuesday that Lopez, who admitted he owes more than $100,000 in student loan debt, may have to pony up thousands of dollars in taxes for the freebies he received from the Yankees in exchange for the prized baseball, valued by Steiner Sports at $250,000 on the open market.
The 23-year-old Verizon employee told the New York Daily News that he plans on paying the IRS, but wouldn’t mind a little help.
Well, it looks like help is on the way. According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, “Gotta go to Mo’s” is about to take on a whole new meaning.
Over the next seven days, Modell’s will donate 5 percent of all Yankees sales to Lopez, with a guaranteed amount of $25,000, reported Rovell. An announcement is expected at the retailer’s Times Square store on Wednesday.
Also joining the cause: Miller High Life, which offered to cover the tax burden on Wednesday.
“Miller High Life believes you should be rewarded for doing the right thing, not penalized,” Brendan Noonan, the brew’s brand manager, said in a statement. “We want to recognize Christian Lopez, and in turn everyone like him, for doing the common sense thing and help him continue to live the High Life.”
High Life also offered to throw Lopez and his friends a party — complete with free beer.
With Jeter fans flocking to stores to pick up commemorative No. 3,000 merchandise, Lopez will likely be able to pay his massive tax bill — and then some. According to the Daily News, Lopez could owe between $5,000 and $13,000 to the IRS.
The New York Times calculated the superfan’s tax bill — for the Jeter autographed bats, balls and jerseys, four front-row seats on Sunday and four Champions Suite tickets for the remainder of the season — at around $14,000.
“I’m not going to return the seats,” Lopez told the Daily News. “I have a lot of family and friends who will help me out if need be.”
What do you think of the gesture by Modell’s? Sound off in the comments below…