Tigers fan on Pujols ball drama: ‘I just couldn’t take being treated like a garbage bag’

The Detroit Tigers fan who corralled the home run baseball that cemented Albert Pujols' 2,000th career RBI on Thursday made headlines when he refused to hand the historic ball over to Major League Baseball. On Friday, he took to Facebook to detail his experiences with Comerica Park and Tigers staff. 

Ely Hydes chose to keep the ball despite generous offers from the Tigers and Angels, even though MLB would not authenticate the ball once he left the park. 

"The ball is right here on my coffee table," Hydes wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. 

Hydes, 33, said he considered it an honor to catch the ball, "and tried to act all day with the honor I thought it obligated me to." However, Hydes wrote that while "people were so cynical over the ball," he allowed fans to hold it and pose for pictures.

Additionally, Hydes explained that he didn't choose to keep the ball out of a sense of entitlement and lamented the way he was treated by "Tigers management."

"I had the best of intentions. This ball will most likely end up in the Hall of Fame. I'm sorry if no one can 'authenticate' it, but the only reason I ended up with it is because Tigers management treated me so terribly."

When asked Friday why the ball was not authenticated, Tigers spokesperson Ron Colangelo referred the Free Press to Matt Bourne, MLB senior vice president of communications. Bourne said in an email he's looking into the matter.

Albert Pujols celebrated Thursday after hitting a home run for his 2,000th career RBI. (Photo: Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY Sports)

In a phone interview with Kyle Bogenschutz of 97.1 FM on Thursday in Detroit, Hydes said he was approached by park security and Tigers organization representatives who seemed to want him to give the ball up right away. 

Hydes told Bogenschutz he "tried to do the right thing" and wanted time to process what had happened, but he didn't like how he was treated "like an opportunist." He said he was told that if he walked away, MLB couldn't authenticate the ball, and "when you walk out of the park, the ball's worth nothing, so think about that."

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“Honestly, if they were just cool about it, I would’ve just given them the ball,” Hydes said. “I don’t want money off of this; I was offered $5,000 and $10,000 as I walked out of the stadium, I swear to God … I just couldn’t take being treated like a garbage bag for catching a baseball.”

Hydes added that he's glad the ball will be staying in Detroit.

For his part, Pujols said he thinks Hydes has the right to keep the ball as a piece of history.

"I think he was given a little hard time and I told the guys, just you know, just leave it. Just let him have it, I think he can have a great piece of history with him, you know. When he look at the ball he can remember … this game, and I don't fight about it.

"You know, I think we play this game for the fans, too, and if they want to keep it, I think they have a right to. I just hope, you know, that he can enjoy it," Pujols said. 

Pujols added that he wouldn't "pay a penny" for the ball.

In his post, Hydes offered a "big thank you" to Pujols and called him a class act. 

"You wouldn't pay me a penny for the ball, and I wouldn't take a penny. I'd be more likely to give it up over beers in LA," he wrote. 

Contact Aleanna Siacon: [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @AleannaSiacon




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