Marlins IF Chris Coughlan hit his first big league HR Wednesday night, a two-run shot off Milwaukee’s Braden Looper. Coughlan’s efforts to retrieve the ball hit a roadblock in the person of accomplished collector Nick Yohanek (above) who claims to have caught 49th home run balls in the past decade. The Sun-Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez has further details.
“It took some negotiation, but I did get it back,” said Coghlan, who gave Yohanek a bat and took a photo with him. “He wanted other things. He wanted tickets to the Yankees games. He wanted a Hanley [Ramirez autographed] ball, a Hanley bat. I was just trying to be as polite as I could and be respectful. You only get one, so I wanted to get it and give it to my mom.”
Coghlan added that Yohanek, a 29-year-old police officer, “wasn’t the most polite or respectful guy about the whole process. He told me he does this a lot. He goes around and catches these balls and holds them for ransom, even though he doesn’t say that’s what he does, but that’s what it seemed like to me.”
For his part, Yohanek suggests the Marlins were less than courteous in discussing a swap, and makes no mention of demanding Yankee tickets.
For all Florida viewers to see, I handed (FSN’s Craig Minervini the handwritten requests I had decided on 30 minutes earlier. On those two slips of paper read the following:
1st piece of paper:
CHRIS COGHLAN GAME BAT signed-
“To Nick, thanks for catching my first home run!”
one (1) signed CHRIS COGHLAN ball
2nd piece of paper:
HANLEY RAMIREZ GAME BAT
Mr. Minervini then held up the two slips of paper for the camera and I held up the home run ball.
So, where’s the confusion?? Where’s the part about me being unreasonable and asking for a whole bunch of stuff from other players? Where’s the part about me holding the ball for ransom?