ATLANTA -- Alex Rodriguez's historic 23rd career grand slam, the shot that tied Lou Gehrig and, oh yeah, the Atlanta Braves, was caught on the fly by a 15-year-old kid from Asheboro, N.C., who used a Yankees hat as an outfielder's glove.
And, like Christian Lopez -- the young man who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit in the left-field bleachers of Yankee Stadium last July -- Randy Kearns, a lifelong Yankees fan attending his first live Bombers game, was not about to hold the memento for ransom.
"I think it would be cool to give it back to him," Kearns said, and when A-Rod met him and his mom, Darlene Phillips, in a hallway outside the Yankees' clubhouse, that is exactly what he did.
In exchange, Rodriguez gave Kearns a different signed ball from the game, a bat and a jersey. They had a brief conversation -- A-Rod: "Nice to meet you"; Kearns: "It's an honor"; A-Rod: "The honor's mine." Rodriguez posed for a couple of photographs with the kid and his mother and then was out the door.
The kid said he had always been a Yankees fan, that Babe Ruth was his all-time favorite and Jorge Posada his recent favorite, and when asked if A-Rod was not his favorite, said, "It's between him and (Derek) Jeter. It's tough to choose.''
Then Kearns, his mother and a friend who came along headed back to the car for their five-hour ride home to Asheboro. "Don't have to worry about me falling asleep," his mom said. "I don't think I'll be able to sleep for a week."
Nice scene, nice story. But a question for you: Would you have returned such a potentially valuable bit of baseball memorabilia for a ball, a bat and a jersey?
Let us know. Thanks.