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Heartbreaking Story of Tigers Fan Who Caught Albert Pujols' 2000th RBI Makes His Motivations Clear

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18:  A detail of a Detroit Tigers hat with an official postseason logo is seen on the bat rack in the udgout againstthe New York Yankees during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip

Detroit Tigers fan Ely Hydes briefly drew the ire of fellow baseball enthusiasts from around the world when he chose to hang on to Albert Pujols' 2000th RBI ball last week.

Despite numerous offers of cash and memorabilia from the team's staff, Hydes maintained his handle on the artifact, and again, as they seem wont to do these days, fans lambasted him and called him selfish.

What they didn't know was the heartbreaking story behind the man, and it makes his motivations all the more understandable.

No, he doesn't want to keep the baseball for himself; that'll end up in Cooperstown. He just wanted to be able to keep the moment.

Yes, Hydes' only child, Cy, a baseball-loving toddler by any metric, died less than a year ago at just 21 months old from an infection.

Hydes estimated that the two of them attended more than 25 baseball games together. They went so often that the stadium staff would recognize them and strike up conversation.

So when a piece of history practically fell into his lap in one of his first games back since his son's death, it's understandable that Hydes didn't want to let it go.

"I value experiences and memories," said Hydes.

And that's noble of him. In an era of materialism, Hydes stood tall with the choice to place his value in moments in time. He knows more than any of us just how precious (and how fleeting) they can be.

Ultimately, though, he decided to donate the ball itself to the Hall of Fame.

Above all, though, Hydes deserves our respect and courtesy. He was placed in a high-pressure situation that honestly had no right answer.

So next time, reserve your judgement until you understand the situation. There's no telling what experiences someone else has had to endure.