Michael Kessler is the 20 year New York Yankees fan who caught Aaron Judge's 60th Home Run ball last night. The home run ball that tied Babe Ruth's highest season total. Crazy how quickly something like that can happen. He didn't even buy tickets until the day of the game. A last minute decision to go see Yankees vs Pirates resulted in Kessler being a part of baseball history.
Security at Yankee Stadium wasted no time finding Michael as soon as he caught the ball. That's what happens when a record-breaking/milestone-setting home run is hit. The team does what they can to get the ball back so they can have it for themselves, or give it to the player. Being a huge Yankees fan, Michael immediately agreed to give the ball to Aaron Judge.
The internet was quick to question his decision. It's easy to watch this unfold from home and say that you would have kept the ball for yourself, and auctioned it off to make a quick year's salary. But I'm sure the whole thing was a whirlwind. I would like to think that I would have the wherewithal to get out of the stadium with the ball in my hand, but I can also see a world where I get pressured into giving it back.
I'm sure last night was a blast for Michael either way. It was an incredible game, capped off with a Giancarlo Stanton walk-off grand slam to complete a 5-run 9th inning comeback. Him and his friends got to meet Aaron Judge after the game to give him the ball back personally. He got some pictures and assorted Aaron Judge signed memorabilia. It's certainly a night that he and his friends will remember forever.
That being said, I can't help but wonder how Michael is feeling right now. I'm sure he was riding high last night, but now that he's had time to think about what he could have done with that ball, I wonder if he's still happy with his decision. Here is a play-by-play of how I imagine the 24 hours following that home run went for Michael.
11:45 PM: Michael leaves Yankee Stadium with his friends. The boys are fired up. They just got to meet Aaron Judge. They have a bunch of pictures, and they have an assortment of signed Yankees memorabilia. They take the train back to their 600 square foot Manhattan apartment that they split between 4 people.
1:00 AM: The boys are too jacked up to sleep. They crack open some beers and reminisce about the night. They look through social media and can't believe the amount of attention Michael is getting. None of them have ever experienced anything like this before. They see some comments about all the money he could have made from selling the ball, but they laugh it off. It wasn't about the money. They got to meet their hero. It was a legendary night.
2:30 AM: Everyone is pretty hammered at this point, but it's a Tuesday night, and they have class in the morning. What a time to be alive. Good friends, good baseball, good beers. Everything is right in the world. Michael goes to bed happy.
8:00 AM: Michael wakes up in time for class. He's got a bit of a hangover, but it's manageable. He scrolls Twitter a bit before getting out of bed. Darren Rovell says that the ball's estimated worth is between $50,000 - $500,000 on the open market. Damn, that would have been nice. But he's not mad about it. He's still riding pretty high.
8:45 AM: He walks into class and everyone flocks to him. None of these people have talked to him before, but they sure are now. It's fun to be the center of attention for once.
"Hey I saw you on TV!"
"Dude, you met Aaron Judge?! What was he like? Did you blow him?"
"Why didn't you sell it?"
9:15 AM: Class is dragging, and the hangover is starting to set in. He can't help but check his phone every 10 seconds. The internet is still talking about him. Everyone is saying he should have sold the ball. For the first time he thinks he may have made a mistake, but he's still not mad about it.
10:30 AM: Now Michael is starting to drag. The hangover has set in. There's no way he's going to Economics class at 11. They don't take attendance anyways. He decides to skip class and go home to take a nap.
11:00 AM: He's back in his bed. His phone is still blowing up with people asking him questions about last night. He was responding to everybody at first, but now he's ignoring people. He just wants to sleep off this hangover.
12:45 PM: Michael wakes up. His hangover is pretty much gone, but now he feels shame for skipping Economics. It was only a 45 minute class. That's pathetic. It's so easy to just show up and he couldn't even do that. Now he's going to have to read the chapter, which will take him even longer. God damn it.
1:15 PM: He turns on the TV. They're talking about him on Sportscenter. He enjoys it for about 30 seconds, until of course, they bring up the money. Michael thinks to himself, "Why is the money the only thing people want to talk about? It was an awesome moment. I gave him the ball back. He deserved it. He's done so much for the organization, it's the least I could do."
Oh well. People just want to find the negative in things. The Yankees gave him a night to remember, and that's all that matters.
2:00 PM: Michael gives his parents a call. It's refreshing to talk to them, at first. They're so happy for him. They know how big of a Yankees fan he is, and how much last night meant to them. But then, once again, they brought up the money.
Mom: "So, did you ever think about keeping it and selling it?"
Michael: "No, Mom.."
Mom: "I saw someone said it could be worth $1 million dollars"
Michael: "What? I don't think that's true"
Dad: "Even a 10th of that could have paid off your student loans and then some."
Michael: "Thanks, Dad"
Michael tells his parents he loves them and hangs up the phone
3:00 PM: It's been a pretty unproductive day for Michael. He can't stay off his phone. It was fun at first, but now he's starting to question himself, "What have I done?"
He looks in the corner at his signed Aaron Judge baseball bat.
"That really is a cool bat. I should buy a case for it. But that's probably expensive in it's own right"
It's fine. It was still an incredible night, and he's not going to let anybody take that away from him
4:00 PM: Michael tries to crack down and study the chapter he missed in Econ today. But he can't focus. He just keep looking over at that signed baseball bat.
He keeps assuring himself, "It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat. I did the right thing. I did the right thing."
5:00 PM: Michael has a date with his girlfriend in an hour, and he needs to get ready. He takes a shower and puts himself together. His girlfriend always cheers him up, so he's excited to see her. He's starting to feel a little better about himself.
"It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat."
6:00 PM: He meets his girlfriend at a new Italian restaurant in their neighborhood. They love Italian food. The grand opening was the other week, and they're both excited to try it. He orders the Ravioli (it's the cheapest thing on the menu). His girlfriend orders Bistecca Alla Fiorentina with a side of truffle paste. It's a $60 dish. Michael's a broke college student, so that's going to hurt the bottom line.
7:00 PM: They get the bill and Michael puts down his credit card. After a few minutes the waiter comes back and says that his card has been declined. How fucking embarrassing. He's only been dating his girlfriend for a couple of months, and she doesn't know anything about his finances yet. This is a terrible look for him. Luckily, she's very nice about it and offers to cover the bill.
Girlfriend: "It's ok babe, it's my fault. I ordered an expensive dish, I should have asked if you can afford it first."
Michael: "Thanks dear, promise I'll get you back"
Girlfriend: "Maybe you should have sold that ball"
Michael: "Ha ha… maybe so."
7:15 PM: Michael rides the train with girlfriend back to her place and walks her to the door. She says she has a big test tomorrow that she needs to study for, so she can't hang out. That's a bummer. He was hoping to watch a movie with her tonight. He needs a break from the Yankees. He gives her a hug and a kiss and wishes her luck on her studies.
7:30 PM: Michael feels like such an asshole on the train ride home. He thinks to himself, "I'm such a broke loser. Does she really have to study? Or is she so disgusted with the fact that I can't cover a $100 dinner that she made up a lie to get rid of me?"
8:00 PM: At home, Michael's roommates are in the living room watching the Yankees game, but he can't bring himself to join them. He needs to think about anything else. He makes up a lie that he needs to study and locks himself in his room.
8:15 PM: He opens up his laptop and types "Aaron Judge signed baseball bat" into eBay. He's not going to sell it. It's a really cool bat. It represents a memory that he will cherish forever. He's just curious what it would go for on the open market.
8:30 PM: Next, Michael checks his credit card balance online. Oh no.. he missed a payment. He thought he had another week before it was due. How did his balance get so high? He can't even afford the minimum. Now he's going to have a penalty to pay. Living in New York is so expensive. Borderline unaffordable for a college student. His parents do alright, but they're in no position to help him financially. He can't ask them for money. Michael is all on his own. Maybe he can pick up an extra shift at the restaurant this weekend.
9:00 PM: Michael goes to the fridge to grab a beer. He needs to take the edge off. Sadly, there's only a single Coors Light remaining. He grabs the beer, goes outside, and sits down on the front steps of his apartment complex. He needs to clear his head.
"It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat."
9:15 PM: He looks down at his feet. There's a hole forming in the toe of his shoe. It's his go to pair of shoes. There's another $60 purchase he can't afford.
9:30 PM: After staring at his shoes contemplating his life, he looks up to see an ice cream truck parked across the street. He has a $1.50 in loose change in his pocket. Maybe a SpongeBob pop will cheer him up. He walks up to the ice cream truck and… damn.. they raised the price of SpongeBob pops to $2.25. The cheapest thing on the menu is a $1.75 fudge pop. He can't afford a single thing on the menu. Michael hangs his head in shame and walks back home
9:45 PM: Micheal walks inside and goes straight to his room. He sits in silence and stares at the bat.
"It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat. It's a cool bat."
10:00 PM: Michael starts to get angry, and begins muttering to himself.
"Why does the world have to ruin a good thing? It was a great moment. It's a cool bat. I'm happy with my decision. It's a cool bat. It's not about the money. It's a cool bat."
His roommates over hear him, "You ok in there man?"
Michael doesn't respond. He plugs his laptop into the sound bar in his room, and turns it on full volume. He then pulls up the video of his favorite Yankees moment. The moment Derek Jeter became Mr. November. The walk off home run in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.
The voice of Yankees commentator Michael Kay rings through the apartment (Michael Kay's voice in bold italics)
Jeter steps out, now back in
Michael walks to the corner of his room and grabs the bat
Michael (exclaiming): "This is a really cool bat isn't it?!"
Roomate: "Yeah we know man it's awesome"
Kim taking a long look. Now he's been working from the full windup, and he looks like he's about to go from the stretch, very odd…
Michael puts the bat on his shoulder like he's stepping up to the plate
Roomate: "Can you turn that down man it's super loud"
Michael: "Aaron Judge has done so much for this organization!"
Roomate: "Umm… yeah he really has man, it's ok"
And the 3-2 pitch.. Swung on and drilled to right field…
Michael swings the bat with all his might and hits the door knob clean off the door. It flies across the room
Roomate: "What the fuck was that"
Michael: I SAID AARON JUDGE HAS DONE SO MUCH FOR THIS ORGANIZATION
On the track, at the wall…
Michael swings the bat over his head like a tomahawk and repeatedly smashes his TV
See ya! See ya! See ya!
Michael is on a full blown rampage. He's destroying everything in this room
A home run by Derek Jeter! He pumps his fist in the air as he rounds first..
Michael kicks down his bedroom door. He stares at his roommates with fury in his eyes. He has completely lost it.
Roommate: "Michael it's going to be ok I promise please just calm down"
Michael (screaming): "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"
Michael swings his Aaron Judge signed bat with all of his might and connects with his roommates jaw. Right on the sweet spot. Blood and teeth spray across the room
The entire Yankee team mobs him at home plate as he leaps onto the dish with a 4-3 Yankee win!
The other roommates make a dash for the front door, but Michael chases them down. He crushes their knee caps with the bat and they fall to the ground.
Oh! Oh! What a ball game!
Michael (maniacally): IT'S A COOL BAT ISN'T IT?!?!?!?!!?
Other Roommates (crying hysterically): MICHAEL NO PLEASE SPARE US IT'S A COOL BAT IT'S A COOL BAT!
Michael doesn't spare them. He smashes and smashes until his roommates are nothing but a skin sack of blood and shattered bones.
A game winning walk off home run by Derek Jeter. He is Mr. November!
The police burst through the front door of the apartment with a battering ram. Michael looks up and charges them
Michael (psychotically): IT'S A COOL B-
Police Officers Gun: BANG! BANG! BANG!
Ten police officer put 3 bullets in Michael's chest and he falls to the ground. He is dead.
It's a phenomenal Yankee win!
New York, New York plays in the background as the paramedics put the 4 bodies on a stretcher and haul them out into the ambulance.