Saturday, October 10, 2009

Girl, 12, slugged back at Phillies slugger -

Girl, 12, slugged back at Phillies slugger - "(CNN) -- Jennifer Valdivia scooped up the baseball after it sailed into the right-field stands. The 12-year-old smiled and giggled over the keepsake from her first Major League ballgame.

Jennifer Valdivia, 12, holds the record-setting baseball after it was returned this week to her.
1 of 3 She'd have to sue to get the ball back.

This is the story of a baseball and the big leagues, of a young girl, a slugger and a lawsuit. It's about another stain on America's pastime -- commercialism colliding with a kid's innocent joy.

Jennifer's big catch was the 200th home run for Ryan Howard, an All-Star for the Philadelphia Phillies. The 29-year-old first baseman achieved the milestone faster than any player in Major League history, in his 658th career game, 48 fewer games than the previous record.

The ballclub wanted to give the ball to its star player. And that's where things got complicated.

Watch Jennifer smile as ball is returned »

It was mid-July. The Phillies squared off against the Florida Marlins at Land Shark Stadium near Miami.

Jennifer was in the stands with her 69-year-old grandfather, her 17-year-old brother and one of his friends. Howard launched his history-making homer in the sixth inning, a solo shot to right field.

The sixth-grader beat her older brother to the ball. Nearby, fans said they couldn't believe a girl came away with the prize.
'I was rubbing it in my brother's face,' Jennifer later recalled. He'd been to many games before, but had never caught a homer ball. 'I got a ball and you didn't,' she teased.
Switcheroo leaves mom steaming"

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