New York Yankees: Christian Lopez

Nick Laham/Getty ImagesWould Christian Lopez change anything about last year's DJ-3K exchange? Nope.
It has been a year and a day since Christian Lopez caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit. Lopez made the decision to just give Jeter the ball instead of holding out for potentially millions.

The Decision will be debated forever. What would you do? Well, Lopez, now 24, with a new life, would not do anything different.

"I get a lot of respect," Lopez said on the phone Monday. "Even if people don't agree with the decision, they respect it."

Lopez said that day now defines his life. A little more than a month after he caught the ball, he left his job with Verizon Wireless to become a community ambassador for Modell Sporting Goods. To celebrate the one-year anniversary on Monday, Lopez met with Little Leaguers at Modell's Time Square store.

With Lopez's new job, he and his girlfriend Tara Johnson -- who got him the tickets for DJ-3K game -- have moved into the city together. Now, everyone is teasing him about maybe getting Tara a ring soon.

Lopez isn't sweating missing out on the money. He speaks to children about how life works out when you do the correct thing.

"Kids can make the right decision," Lopez said about his message.

He loves his job at Modell's and thinks if he wanted to try to talk to Jeter again he could. The two have not spoken since Lopez gave Jeter the ball and the Yankees set Lopez up with season tickets for the rest of the year.

"He's a busy guy," Lopez said. "He's Derek Jeter, you know."

This year, Lopez bought his own season tickets and, better yet, feels like he is a part of Yankee history.

"It is something that is going to be there forever," Lopez said. "When you are talking Yankee history, you are talking legends. Just to be in Yankee history, it is an honor."

It is something you can't buy.

UP NOW: Reggie Jackson is in timeout and he needs the Yankees more than they need him.

ON DECK: The All-Star Game from Kansas City. Jeter leads off, Robinson Cano bats second and Curtis Granderson hits ninth. The only other time the Yankees have had the first two batters in the AL All-Star lineup was 1987 (Rickey Henderson and Don Mattingly).

IN THE HOLE: We will be on the blog all day. Matt Ehalt will have his Tuesday feature, The Cash Register. So check back.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What would you have done with the DJ-3K ball?

Christian Lopez: 'It's surreal'

July, 13, 2011
7/13/11
3:18
PM ET
Christian Lopez, the lucky New York Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, just got what he called the coolest perk of them all: a 2009 World Series ring.

This gift came courtesy of Mitchell Modell, CEO of Modell's Sporting Goods, who got the ring because Modell’s sponsors the Yankees. That wasn’t all Modell gave Lopez: Lopez will receive five percent of the entire chain's Yankees merchandise sales for one week. Both Modell and Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports, guaranteed Lopez at least $25,000 each.

Modell called Lopez “truly a true New Yorker” and “a class act” and Steiner taught Lopez how to properly sign a baseball.

Wearing a broad smile, a personalized Yankee hat, a DJ3K shirt and a new piece of jewelry, Lopez admitted at Modell’s in Times Square he was “absolutely speechless right now.”

Lopez hadn’t heard about Miller High Life’s offer to cover his tax bill, but that would mean the Steiner and Modell’s money could go to pay off his $150,000 of debt, generated by student loans.

The 23-year old had no regrets about giving the ball back to the Yankees. "Right now, I’m living in the moment,” he said. So far the cellphone salesman’s moments included meeting Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre and Joe Girardi, signing an Indian rupee for one Yankee fan and being asked by another how Jeter’s hand felt when he shook it. "It felt kind of soft, but like any other hand," Lopez replied.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Brett Gardner
BA HR RBI R
.283 13 46 67
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 18
RBIM. Teixeira 50
RB. Gardner 67
OPSB. Gardner .812
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135