Jennifer Valdivia Gets Ryan Howard HR Ball

19
Posted October 8, 2009 by Jeff Prince in Blotch

Justice triumphs.

The 12-year-old Florida girl who nabbed a record-setting home run ball by Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard, and then was hustled out of her prize by team officials has finally got her ball back.

Howard’s home run was significant. It was his 200th, and he reached the milestone in the fewest games in major league history. The ball’s probably not worth much now, but if Howard goes on to a record breaking Hall-of-Fame career the ball could be worth a fortune. But that’s beside the point. The Phillies handled this horribly.

Jennifer Valdivia’s mother was livid after she learned a Phillies team rep took her daughter aside without an adult guardian, plied her with candy, and got her to exchange the historic ball for a replacement.

Fans used to be the ones saving balls, uniforms, equipment, programs, and other memories. Now players are their own biggest fans.

Why didn’t Howard just round the bases after his home run, climb the outfield wall, chase down the girl, snatch the ball from her hand, and slap her around a bit? I guess it’s more civil for a team official to swindle the kid behind closed doors.

I love it when football players toss balls into the crowd after a big touchdown, or when baseball players lob game-winning balls to kids in the cheap seats.

Today’s athletes cling to their significant balls (now that sounded weird).

It’s common for fans to return home run balls in exchange for autographed items. But when fans don’t want to make a trade, that’s their right. A Seattle fan who didn’t want to return a recent Jose Lopez home run ball was hassled by security and then criticized during the telecast by a game broadcaster. There have been other incidents where players got snippy after fans refused to make exchanges.

Bottom line, Jennifer Valdivia deserved to get her ball back, and the Phillies were right to return it – even if they waited two months and only after the girl’s mother filed a lawsuit.

Hmmm…makes one wonder whether the ball returned to the girl is the one that was actually hit.


19 Comments


  1.  
    dan m

    Creepiest move ever by the kid’s family (and dead wrong analysis by Jeff). This is pretty standard stuff for anyone who’s ever been to a game: catch a ball that happens to have sentimental value to the player, and the club offers a signed ball, bat, tix, etc in return. You don’t want to take the trade, fine.. but to hire a lawyer and sue? what a d*** move. terrific lesson for the kid, too. didn’t know that going to the game with your kids was a money-making enterprise. sleazebags.




  2.  
    vinny

    So where were the parents during this game? Or did little Jennifer go to the game herself? To me this sounds like the kid’s family is setting the wrong example. If anything, they should learn from Steve Monfortos, the guy whose daughter adoringly threw away his foul ball catch.




  3.  
    Ran Sid

    The Valdivia girl was with her 16-year-old brother when she grabbed the home run ball. I think she learned a great lesson from her mother. When a big corporation tries to screw you, fight back and kick some ass. Believe me the team wouldn’t have returned the ball if they weren’t fully aware they were in the wrong.




  4.  
    dan m

    um, no. the team gave her the ball – again, a ball that has minimal value to her, but sentimental value to Howard – because they didn’t want to get into a ridiculous fight with a sleazy overly-litigious jerk of a family and their lawyer. the lesson to the kid now is: go everywhere looking for a payday. awesome.




  5.  
    GABRIELA VALDIVIA

    OKAY HERES THE STORY!! JENNY WAS W ITH MY GRANDPA!! AND NO HES NOT CUBAN LIKE OTHER STORYES SAY! WERE NICARAGUENSES! WHY ARE PEOPLE JUGING WHEN YOU GUYS DONT EVEN KNOW THE STORY? YES IT COULD HAVE SUCH A VALUBLE FOR RYAN HOWRD BUT THAT WAS ALSO HAS SENTEMENTAL VALUE FOR MY SISTER!!! >.< RYAN HOWRD HAS MANY THING AND HE COULD PROBABLY HIT ANOTHER 200 HIT HOME RUN! IF HE COULD DO IT ONCE HE CAN DO IT AGAIN. NOTHING STOPPING HIM. (: AND NO WE DIDNT REALLY SUE. THEY filed THE PAPERS THAT DAY AND THE BALL CAME IN THE SAME DAY. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ALMOST THREE MONTHS NOW. JENNY HAD MANY PATIENTS FOR THAT BALL TO COME. ABD NO IT WAS A D*** MOVE dan m!! THERE IS A LAW THAT SAYS WHERE THE BALL LANDS AND WHO EVER GETS IT BELONGS TO THEM. LOOK IT UP IN THE BARRY BOUNDS CASE WITH THE KID WHO COAUGHT THE BALL. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT PLEASE DAN M. AND NO WERE NOT GONNA SELL THE BALL PEOPLE!!! JENNY WANTED THAT BALL ALL TO HERSELF SHE WANTS TO KEEP THE BALL. SO STOP SAYING THINGS THAT ARENT TRUE! (DAN M) and no were not gonna sell the ball. and this isnt for money




  6.  
    GABRIELA VALDIVIA

    and it okay you have the right to your opinion im fine with that. but when you dont know what really went you shouldnt express it cuase you dont know what really happend (: but if thats your opinion fine its yours. and what mine is mine. and you shouldnt be really critizing my parents for what they did right. and i bet if you had a kid and they took his/her ball away from them you would fight for whats rightfully thiers




  7.  
    pshack

    I would love to see how he’s going to hit another “200th HR” in the majors. Maybe amongst the many things Ryan Howard has, is the ability to travel back in time to when he still had 199 career HRs so he can hit that 200th HR again, but i’m going go out on a limb and say he doesn’t.
    The Phillies may have handled the situation poorly, but that doesn’t hide the fact that a player achieved a milestone that is probably personally significant to him. The memento from that event was then more or less forced to give up a memento from that event…unless it was actually a different ball. That would be great.




  8.  
    Dave

    What kind of family allows their daughter to be taken away by strangers from their supervision? I think you’ve missed the real story here. The real story here is about parents who are apparently oblivious to where their 12 year old daughter is and are more concerned with custody of a baseball than the safety of their own daughter. Shame on them.




  9.  
    Dalton

    I hate using this word, but this was the “faggiest” analysis i’ve ever read jeff prince. you sir, are a turd.




  10.  
    David

    I’m not even going to analyze, I’m just going to call this a despicable move by the girl’s family and I sincerely hope they feel awful for it. Dear Valdivia’s, when a member of your family works their entire life to make it to Bigs, then hits their 200th home run, hopefully it won’t land anywhere near someone like you.




  11.  
    Katie

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Sure the ball had sentimental value to the girl but the value to Ryan Howard outweighs that of the little girl. He should have had that ball to be able to pass it on to his kids and grandkids, now he has squat. So what if he’s a Major League player and he already has so much, he’s still a person with feelings no matter how much money he makes.




  12.  
    David

    The family is definitely in the wrong. Teach your daughter a great lesson. Do the right thing for other people and be a giving person and it will come back to you several times over. That ball belongs with Ryan Howard. Shame on the parents.




  13.  
    jeff.prince

    Here’s the family’s side of the story per their attorney, who’s got a great accent:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duDHpxmztvs




  14.  
    Obama's Seat

    People are growing tired of overpaid professional athletes and their sense of entitlement. And it’s PHILLY, people. PHILLY!

    The kid deserves the ball, and the ballplayer can make money off endorsements to fill the void in his life, he’ll recover.

    Sheesh.




  15.  
    Pat A

    Horrible man. It was for money, and you re not gonna get more that 5k for that ball, so wow, what classless loser move. Ryan broke a record, so its would be nice if he could keep the ball. If its a 12 year old girl, she doesnt even know the difference. its really pathetic. Even worse is someone from the family getting on this forum and trying to defend the move (in horrible broken english, nonetheless). Great example for kids, and another classic examples of some of the dirt that lives here in Miami.




  16.  
    dragon fly

    Ryan Howard is a weasel. If he wanted the baseball he shoudl have offered the girl $1,000 or $5,000 or whatever but instead he let some lackey get the ball from teh girl and never even bothered to thank her or talk to her or nothing. He just signed a ball and said give this to the girl and get that ball from her because i want it. Who’s to say he wasn’t going to sell the ball or give it to his nephew or somebody who would then sell the ball? Why is this Florida girl being called names and made into a bad person and her whole family too when all they did was want what was rightfully hers? People defending Ryan Howard and criticizing the girl have their heads waaaaaay up their asses. Howard expected a 12 yr old to hand him the ball without so much as a thank you and then when her mother asked for the ball back he refused to return it for two months until the family threatened lawsuit. What does that say about him?




  17.  
    Michael

    Yeah….this was bad. What a joke. Little 12 year old girl who probably knows nothing about baseball was trying to get this back. Funny thing is, it probably wasn’t even her, probably was her parents trying to make money off of it. If it was the girl, she would’ve liked having a autographed ball more than something that has no visual need on it. When someone who makes that much money wants a ball from a game, they usually want it for life achievements.




  18.  
    The Truth

    I hope that everyone knows that the ball that is in that girl’s hands right now us WORTHLESS as far as selling it for a huge amount of money goes: She can NEVER really prove WITHOUT A DOUBT that the ball in question was the actuall home run ball. In my heart of hearts, I really hope the real ball is with Howard. Regardless, anyone who pays more than $100 for this ball is an idiot. I wouldn’t give her $20 for it! I hope that if she puts it on eBay, the public will remember this incident, and no one will bid on it. Then her mom can pick up the enlistment fees, or call her lawyer and try to sue the Philles for $1.62. Bcstpete pretty much nailed it on the head. I think it says alot about the family that the girl feels like she needs to hide the ball from even THEM. Her mom is probably salivating over what she thinks she could buy with the money once she scams the ball off of her own child. Remember: The ball is WORTHLESS now: She can never prove that was the ball. The Phillies need to stamp up a few hundred just like it and give them out to fans…that way the girl can keep the ball she fought so hard to get back, and everyone should be happy.

    Just look above at the post from “Gabriela Valdivia”, and you can see that it’s obvious that this girl’s parents are more concerned with a baseball the hope they can cash in on than an education for their daughter. I got a headache just trying to decipher her comments. The only thing that is clear is that they don’t even understand the significance of it…she’s talking about how many 200th home run balls he will hit in the future. Gabriela has the literary skills of a two-year-old child. The kids probably in her teens. Like I said, DON’T let them profit from this…that baseball ISN’T WORTH A DIME now, anyway. The authenticity will ALWAYS be in question.




  19.  
    triple play

    That’s just great. If the ball is still worth thousands, any crook can now break into the Valdivia’s home and steal the ball. Way to put your daughter in harms way!

    Oh and Gabriela, you played the race card a bit too early. You have to learn to play it close to your chest, especially when race has NOTHING to do with this.





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