Auctioning Off Historic Baseballs

Whenever a fan catches an important home run, there is the push and pull between giving it back to the player, giving it to the Hall of Fame, keeping it, or selling it.  When a ball has sentimental value to the player but not necessarily the Hall of Fame, it’s always a little obnoxious to me when the fan decides he’s going to sell the ball.

Yesterday, someone sold Alex Rodriguez’s 500th home run ball for $103,579.  I have no sympathy for Alex Rodriguez in any facet of his professional life, but it does remind me of an important point.  Why doesn’t the player just buy the ball at the auction? 

Maybe this does happen and they just keep it hush-hush, the way international companies pay ransoms for their kidnapped employees.  Still, I can’t imagine there is a more interested and financially capable bidder for Alex Rodriguez’s 500th home run ball than Alex Rodriguez.