NEW YORK (AP) -A lifelong Yankees fan who drained his bank account to buy season tickets caught some cowhide that could be worth thousands - the ball that Alex Rodriguez hit for his 500th home run.
Walter ``Sonny'' Kowalczyk, 29, was hiding out with his family Sunday in Trenton, N.J., while he figured out what to do with the now legendary ball.
``He doesn't want to be robbed,'' said his brother, Brian. ``He's going to lie low for a few days, and then he's going to surface with it.''
Although the value of baseball memorabilia has stagnated recently because of the widespread federal inquiry into steroids use, items such as home run balls and jerseys can still fetch steep prices at auction.
Rodriguez told The Daily News he would like to get the ball back, but that he hasn't spoken to Kowalczyk.
``It's his ball. I think it's obvious that I would love to have the ball, but we'll see what happens,'' Rodriguez said in Monday editions of the News. ``I'm just going to let it sit for a few days.''
Jason Zillo, a spokesman for the Yankees, said the team is willing to make an exchange with Kowalczyk for the ball. ``If his favorite player is Roger Clemens, I think Roger Clemens would give him some stuff,'' he said.
Kowalczyk grew up near Trenton and is a graduate labor relations student at Rutgers University. His MySpace page says he makes $30,000 a year.
``I am like a more intelligent version of Seinfeld, yet I can be all the characters in the show,'' he wrote on the site, according to the News. ``I am an intellectual, or someone who does a great job pretending to be.''
Brian Kowalczyk said that if his brother were doing better financially, he would donate the ball to the Hall of Fame. But he said his brother needed a break.
``He spent all his money to have these Yankees season tickets. I was arguing with him for that,'' he continued. ``There's nothing I can say now.''
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