The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE - The joy Florida Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan felt after hitting his first major league home run was tempered slightly by the hardball negotiations he went through to reclaim the souvenir.
Coghlan's home run was caught Wednesday night by a Milwaukee Brewers fan who refers to himself as "The Happy Youngster" and claims on his blog to have caught nearly 50 homers.
And while Coghlan said the fan was willing to give the ball back, the man's original asking price was a lot higher than Coghlan anticipated.
"He wasn't the most polite or respectful guy about the whole process," Coghlan said Thursday. "He told me he goes around a lot and catches these balls and holds them for ransom - even though he doesn't say that he does, it seems that way."
Players who achieve personal milestones often want to keep the ball as a souvenir, and in all but the most high-profile cases - such as a record-setting home run ball that might fetch big money at an auction - it has become standard practice for the player to give the fan who caught it a souvenir such as a signed bat in return.
Coghlan said he gave the fan a signed bat and took a photo with him after Wednesday's game. As Coghlan discovered, that only seemed like a starting point for further negotiations.
"Then he wanted other things that I didn't think (were) fair," Coghlan said.
Coghlan said the fan also asked for tickets to one of the Marlins' upcoming games against the New York Yankees, along with a ball and signed bat from Coghlan's more famous Marlins teammate, Hanley Ramirez.
"I was trying to be as nice and respectful as I could," Coghlan said. "But I told him he could only get one."
Coghlan didn't cave on the fan's additional demands and still got the ball, and now plans to give it to his mother.