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View Full Version : Murphy's Law: A New Twist


xsedrinam
Aug 9, 2007, 08:17 PM
So Matt Murphy (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/08/09/bonds.ball.ap/index.html) has a decision to make. Catching Barry Bond's record breaking 756th home run has put him in a precarious position. If he sells the ball at an estimated $500,000-600,000, based on current value, he'll owe the IRS one third ~$210,000 in taxes. If he elects to keep the ball, he's still liable for taxes based on the estimated value of the ball. What should Murphy do? What would you do? Maybe he'd been better off to have thrown it back.

Gymnut
Aug 9, 2007, 10:13 PM
Should've sold it since Bonds hit 757 the day after. Besides, it'll be the final HR that Bonds hits that'll be worth more. From what I understand he and his friends were on their way to Australia when on a whim they decided to attend the game.

Edit: I would've given the ball back to Barry.

DoFoT9
Aug 9, 2007, 10:26 PM
this is serisouly the most confusing thread ever. what are yous on about?? selling a game-ball??

Gymnut
Aug 9, 2007, 10:29 PM
What's confusing about it? Guy snags the homerun that broke the tie with Hank Aaron for the career homerun record. Now he's in a conundrum as to what he should do with it.

DoFoT9
Aug 9, 2007, 10:51 PM
hhmm that makes more sense.
it would also make more sense if i knew anything about baseball haha. never gotten into it.

hotsauce
Aug 9, 2007, 10:55 PM
Should've sold it since Bonds hit 757 the day after. Besides, it'll be the final HR that Bonds hits that'll be worth more. From what I understand he and his friends were on their way to Australia when on a whim they decided to attend the game.

Edit: I would've given the ball back to Barry.


If I caught a bonds HR ball I would hire that guy that Tonya Harding hired to knock out his knees. Then I'll have his final HR ball. :D

Abstract
Aug 9, 2007, 11:16 PM
What's confusing about it?

Does the fact that not everyone here is American or follow American baseball confuse you?


Anyway, I'd sell the ball now. Get rid of it. That, or leave the country and sell it outside of the US. Would he still owe taxes then?

steamboat26
Aug 9, 2007, 11:25 PM
^ I think most Americans (me included) assume that everyone knows about the record, because it has been touted as the greatest record in all of sports in U.S. broadcasts, despite the fact that baseball isn't that big worldwide.

And he should sell the ball, I wouldn't want to keep a tainted piece of history :p

megfilmworks
Aug 9, 2007, 11:28 PM
Poor guy, life is not fair.

Gymnut
Aug 9, 2007, 11:53 PM
Does the fact that not everyone here is American or follow American baseball confuse you?


Anyway, I'd sell the ball now. Get rid of it. That, or leave the country and sell it outside of the US. Would he still owe taxes then?

To be fair the OP pretty much spelt it out with crayons and to top it off provided a link to Sports Illustrated's website. :rolleyes:

ezekielrage_99
Aug 10, 2007, 01:24 AM
this is serisouly the most confusing thread ever. what are yous on about?? selling a game-ball??

me too :confused:

solvs
Aug 10, 2007, 01:55 AM
this is serisouly the most confusing thread ever. what are yous on about?? selling a game-ball??

Then why did you click on it?

garybUK
Aug 10, 2007, 02:49 AM
Can I ask ... what the hell is Murphy's Law?

solvs
Aug 10, 2007, 02:58 AM
Can I ask ... what the hell is Murphy's Law?

Google and Wiki are your friends:

Murphy's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy's_law)

Things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance.

garybUK
Aug 10, 2007, 03:13 AM
Google and Wiki are your friends:

Murphy's Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy's_law)

Google and wiki are not friends they are evil truth distorting, cyber criminals :P

We call it Sod's Law here

Why should he be taxed for being lucky enough for catching something valuable that is now his possesion? it's not a taxable income is it??? i find that really weird, i'd be on the next plane out of the country sell it and come back with the cash

Mind you, seeing as the only other place baseball has any sort of following is japan so it's probably not valuable in another country.

DoFoT9
Aug 10, 2007, 03:22 AM
^ I think most Americans (me included) assume that everyone knows about the record, because it has been touted as the greatest record in all of sports in U.S. broadcasts, despite the fact that baseball isn't that big worldwide.

And he should sell the ball, I wouldn't want to keep a tainted piece of history :p
haha. i doubt that 90-95% of australians would not know what 'murphey's law' is.
Then why did you click on it?

i thought it was one of those computer laws, such as the law how cpu power doubles every however long it is.

solvs
Aug 10, 2007, 04:36 AM
i thought it was one of those computer laws, such as the law how cpu power doubles every however long it is.

That would be Moore's Law.

DoFoT9
Aug 10, 2007, 04:38 AM
That would be Moore's Law.

it could have been some wierd other law thats out. theres so many that we dont know about. i was intrigued.

iBlue
Aug 10, 2007, 04:52 AM
That's crappy. I understand being taxed if he sold it, (which sucks in its own right but that's how it goes) but to tax him just to KEEP it? WTF?

solvs
Aug 10, 2007, 04:58 AM
it could have been some wierd other law thats out. theres so many that we dont know about. i was intrigued.

Ok. I'm just messing with you. I love it when someone posts something, and then someone else posts about how they don't know what they're talking about or don't want to hear anymore about it.

I always ask why they bothered to click on the link, let alone post, and I usually don't get a response.

DoFoT9
Aug 10, 2007, 05:03 AM
Ok. I'm just messing with you. I love it when someone posts something, and then someone else posts about how they don't know what they're talking about or don't want to hear anymore about it.

I always ask why they bothered to click on the link, let alone post, and I usually don't get a response.

hahaha yea i was like....."sugar is he being mean or just kidding around??"
at least i replied, must mean im something special :P
i literally had no idea tho lol, now i know.
i think youll find im not like ordinary people.
thats why i dont have many friends :P
kidding

Loge
Aug 10, 2007, 05:03 AM
He should sell it, pay the tax, and buy a brand new ball with the money that remains.

nbs2
Aug 10, 2007, 07:19 AM
To clarify -

1) The plan is to sell the ball and keep 51% of the net, 49% goes to his friend with whom he was at the game

2) The reason that he might be required to pay taxes is that he has taken investment ownership of the ball and that money can be viewed as income of the fair market value of the ball. He could sell the ball at that FMV price and wouldn't owe taxes on it. But, if the ball sold for more or less, he would owe taxes or could take a write off against the difference. No different than getting stocks or whatnot. Think of it this way - when you buy stocks, you already paid taxes on your income. When you sell the stock, you either take a capital gain or capital loss (this last week it was more loss than gain;)). Same thing here. What really would irk people is that throwing it back wouldn't be a qualifying tax deduction - he could still owe taxes.

The problem is that memorabilia isn't always sold, so it is possible that it would hold no investment value to the owner - if it was held as a reminder of the game (think of autographs that kids get at ballgames), there is essentially no value difference between that ball and any other that could fly out of the park. But, as he plans to sell this ball, this is irrelevant.

While the this is fun and exciting, remember that logic is occasionally used by the IRS (see Mark McGwire, #62).

Flynnstone
Aug 10, 2007, 09:02 AM
Sell the ball.

So what about the taxes. Stop looking at the $200K tax and look at the $400K gain. If he didn't catch the ball, gain and taxes = $0.

Plus perhaps he can claim the cost of the game ticket against the tax!

tobefirst
Aug 10, 2007, 10:04 AM
Sell the ball.

So what about the taxes. Stop looking at the $200K tax and look at the $400K gain. If he didn't catch the ball, gain and taxes = $0.

Plus perhaps he can claim the cost of the game ticket against the tax!

The frustrating part though, is that he probably doesn't have a choice. He couldn't keep it on his mantle if he wanted to, since there's a chance it would cost him $210k to do so.

That being said, I wouldn't be upset with $400k. (:

notjustjay
Aug 10, 2007, 10:18 AM
Yeah, seriously, of course sell. $400,000?!

It's cheapskate math to think otherwise.

whooleytoo
Aug 10, 2007, 12:18 PM
That would be Moore's Law.

Wow, a Moore-Murphy law would be interesting:

"In 18 months, not only will things go wrong, but they'll go twice as wrong, twice as fast".

Wow, not a bad summation of the industry there..

whooleytoo
Aug 10, 2007, 12:21 PM
Here's another twist on this: didn't he, technically, steal the ball? Is there something written on the match ticket that states if you catch the ball, you own it? If not, surely it's theft. Grand larceny, I'd imagine. :p

David G.
Aug 10, 2007, 06:04 PM
Theft, yeah right. Look at the police officers protecting him and the ball. I don't think they would have done that if it could be classified as theft.

jdechko
Aug 13, 2007, 10:28 AM
Looking at the picture, I'd sell the ball and sue the cop. Look how he's violating that guy. ;):p

johnee
Aug 13, 2007, 10:40 AM
What really would irk people is that throwing it back wouldn't be a qualifying tax deduction - he could still owe taxes.
.

That's complete nonsense. Simply catching the ball does not establish ownership. does that mean I own everything I simply pick up with my hands, hold for a few minutes, then throw away? no, it doesn't.

I sure hope the IRS doesn't think that way. I didn't check out the McGuire case, but are there established precedents for ownership by temporary possession?

whooleytoo
Aug 13, 2007, 10:47 AM
Theft, yeah right. Look at the police officers protecting him and the ball. I don't think they would have done that if it could be classified as theft.

It's pretty obvious they didn't view it as theft. I'm just wondering why not.

The ball was the property of someone else (I've no idea, the MLB?) before the game, and he caught it and left the ground with it. Unless there's something on the ticket stating the catcher owns the ball, then technically, it's theft, no?

Obviously it's not an issue with a ball worth a few dollars, but when it's worth several hundred thousand dollars, I'd have thought it becomes more interesting.

johnee
Aug 13, 2007, 10:49 AM
The frustrating part though, is that he probably doesn't have a choice. He couldn't keep it on his mantle if he wanted to, since there's a chance it would cost him $210k to do so.

Not really being a baseball fan, I never really thought about that aspect. This is similar to the guy that won a seat into space :

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Brian Emmett's childhood fantasy came true when he won a free trip to outer space. He was crushed when he had to cancel his reservation because of Uncle Sam.

Emmett won his ticket to the heavens in a 2005 sweepstakes by Oracle Corp., in which he answered a series of online questions on Java computer code. He became an instant celebrity, giving media interviews and appearing on stage at Oracle's trade show.

For the self-described space buff who has attended space camp and watched shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center, it seemed like a chance to become an astronaut on a dime.

Then reality struck. After some number-crunching, Emmett realized he would have to report the $138,000 galactic joy ride as income and owe $25,000 in taxes. Unwilling to sink into debt, the 31-year-old software consultant from the San Francisco Bay area gave up his seat.

notjustjay
Aug 13, 2007, 11:33 AM
Not really being a baseball fan, I never really thought about that aspect. This is similar to the guy that won a seat into space :

Dang. I'd have paid $25,000 to go into space. :) Other people have put up a lot more money than that just to be one of the first civilian space travellers.

As for the ball, isn't it printed somewhere that if you catch the ball you get to keep it? I could swear I remember reading that somewhere, whether in the fine print of a ticket purchase or the house rules of a stadium.

nbs2
Aug 13, 2007, 11:48 AM
That's complete nonsense. Simply catching the ball does not establish ownership. does that mean I own everything I simply pick up with my hands, hold for a few minutes, then throw away? no, it doesn't.

I sure hope the IRS doesn't think that way. I didn't check out the McGuire case, but are there established precedents for ownership by temporary possession?

As for the ball, isn't it printed somewhere that if you catch the ball you get to keep it? I could swear I remember reading that somewhere, whether in the fine print of a ticket purchase or the house rules of a stadium.

I believe it is major league baseball itself that relinquishes any right of ownership to materials that have left the field of play, and that the same release is required of all major league teams. In any event, even if it wasn't policy, past actions would have pushed it into common law.

As for owning the ball - posession is viewed as a superior method of establishing ownership (one reason why we have serial numbers for our laptops and etched our names into our calculators). By taking full possession of the ball, he would arguably become the ball's owner and thus would be responsible for taxes owed. A deduction from his income could be made if he donated the ball to a qualifying charity, but tossing the ball back into the field is not a qualifying charity.

I'm not saying what the IRS would do, just what they could do. And to ease your concerns, I don't think the IRS would do it.

iKwick7
Aug 13, 2007, 11:48 AM
In theory, in baseball at least, once a ball goes over a wall it is in the hands of anyone in the stands.

I remember reading somewhere that if a bat goes into the stands you are supposed to give it back, though- not sure about that.

I would've given the ball back to Barry.

I'm the type of person that would, normally, be all about giving a player a ball that I caught, should they want it. It's something that is very important to them.

That being said, I think Barry is an ass hat, and I would either offer him first dibs on buying the ball from me or selling it on the market. I just don't like the man, never did (even before the whole steroid thing).

johnee
Aug 13, 2007, 11:59 AM
I'm not saying what the IRS would do, just what they could do. And to ease your concerns, I don't think the IRS would do it.

geesh, i hope not. the ownership debate seems like it could turn into one of those arguments such as "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is" haha :D

cantthinkofone
Aug 13, 2007, 12:16 PM
personnally i would sell the ball to the highest bidder, and then go to the IRS building and give them the old helicopter, and use the money i got from the ball to bail my self out of jail for indecent exposure :p

EricNau
Aug 13, 2007, 12:27 PM
Edit: I would've given the ball back to Barry.
If Barry wants the ball he can definitely afford to buy it.