The Happy Youngster: Villain or Victim?

Earlier today I stumbled across this article on foxsports.com.  It’s about the problem that Marlins’ rookie Chris Coghlan encountered when he tried to get his 1st career home run back from the fan who caught it.  According the Coghlan, he offered the fan, Nick Yohanek, a signed bat and a photo opportunity after the game (which seems reasonable to me).  Yohanek then asked for a signed baseball from Marlins’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez and tickets to an upcoming Yankees-Marlins series.  Yohanek claims that he wanted to see a Brewers-Marlins series in Miami and that Coghlan was not very cordial to him in the process.  Now the “he said, he said” begins.

Yohanek has his own website, which you can see here.  His nickname is “The Happy Youngster” which was coined back in 1999.  He is known at Brewers’ games for catching homeruns during games; Coghlan’s brought his total to 49.  Below is a video that was shot in Milwaukee in 2000.

I don’t know about you, but I think he kind of came off as a jerk in that video.  Very full of himself to say the least.

His blog also states that he works in law enforcement.  I kind of imagine him as that guy who would ask a young, female driver why she wasn’t crying since he pulled her over.  You know the guy I’m talking about.  He’s the cop we all hate.  A Farva, if you will.  Honestly, who makes a shirt sporting his own nickname and then sells them?  Perhaps the better question is, who would buy that shirt?  (Now that I think about it, if he was a police officer, he would’ve said police officer.  My guess is that this guy is the secretary at the police station.)

Anyway, back to the issue at hand.  The Happy Youngster asked for a signed bat, a picture with Coghlan, a signed ball from Hanley Ramirez (who had nothing to do with this), and tickets to a Marlins’ game in Florida.  All that for a $20 baseball?  A $20 baseball which is just like the other 48 that you already have?  Coghlan hit 22 homers in four minor league seasons.  Let him have his ball back.

Something else that probably deserves a mention…Yohanek claims to be the biggest Brewers fan in the world.  If you watch the video of him catching Coghlan’s homer, he is decked out in Marlins gear.  Yeah, man.  Dress up in the other team’s stuff to catch balls.  You’re a great fan.

So I leave this up to you, sports fans.  Who is wrong here?  Coghlan is a major league baseball player, he should obviously just suck it up, right?  Or is The Happy Youngster the one we should be upset with?  Is this extortion in it’s most minor form?  Leave a comment.  Vote in the poll.

15 Responses

  1. He also has his own blog… which you can see here:
    http://thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com/

  2. Are you serious? This guy is pathetic. He is an embarrassment to all Brewers fans. Have you seen this website? It’s an obsession…and an unhealthy one at that. Bottom line is, he catches home run balls so he can feel some sort of connection to the players. Instead, he comes off as this arrogant jerk who is trying to exploit people. What a loser..

  3. How about the “NEITHER ONE, they’re both jackasses” option?

  4. Happy Youngster? What a jerk!!

  5. Kind of a jerk? He’s a complete a##hole. How can you enjoy baseball when you look at a homerun ball as a way to get loot? Does the stuff he gets remind him of the game, or how he ransomed a player’s homerun. And tell him to shut up about “suppoting his family”, that is just cheap.

    He reminds me if the kind of guy that is always looking for an angle and how to scam whatever he can in EVERY situation.

  6. I’m with Susannah on this one. My guess is there’s enough arrogance between the two of them to float a battleship!

  7. By the way, great article! I LOVE reading these off-beat media stories.

  8. Are you kidding me? You side the MLB on this one? The guy caught the first home run ball of a nobody, and asked for 2 bats. He was told he would get the bats in exchange for the ball, then the MLB or Marlins renege on the agreement. The fan has the right to the ball if he catches it and I think exchanging 2 signed bats for the ball is not too much to ask. If Coghlan makes it big, that first home run ball will be worth some major cash, and 2 cheap old bats with some ink on them takes a few seconds and costs the MLB a few bucks. How does this make Yohanek a jerk? I think that Coghlan acted like a complete jerk by putting words in the guys mouth and acting like he was entitled to getting the ball back. Too many times people side with the celebrities just because they want to feel a connection to the “important” people instead of really looking who was acting out of order. The fan was not in the wrong. And also, I don’t think his blog makes him sound arrogant either. If anything this authors slant on the situation leads readers to follow his sentiment.

    • Jason, in the NFL every single time a player scores a touchdown, the ball he scored the touchdown with is his to keep. Every single time. If he decides to throw it into the stands or do something else with it, that’s up to him but it’s his to do whatever he wants with. It’s an accomplishment, and the ball is a memento of that accomplishment. Anybody who has ever accomplished something that they have worked long and hard for knows how great of a feeling that is, and when it’s something that important people like to have keep sakes from it. Sometimes it’s a picture or video that captures the event, sometimes it’s a part of or the whole accomplishment itself, sometimes it’s a ball that you crushed over the wall in center field or dove across the goal line with.

      I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to hit your first career major league home run. Talk about working long and hard for something; he had probably been dreaming about that since he was a little kid playing tee ball. That is something he had waited a long time to accomplish and deserves to have the souvenir of that moment and some prick who claims to be a fan of the game should understand that.

  9. Great responses guys, I love it.

    Sussanah and Oz: You could both be very right. I don’t know anything about Coghlan and what I know about Yohanek I derived from his personal blog. It did not impress me at all.

    Phil: I agree with you.

    Jason: I appreciate the comment, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. If I’m Coghlan and I was told that some guy who had caught something like 800 balls was refusing to exchange it because he wanted a bat signed by my teammate, I’d probably be a little ticked also.

    As far as siding with the celebrity simply because, I don’t think I did that. I read Yohanek’s blog, I watched his videos. The guy makes “highlight reels” of himself and pastes them on YouTube, he called himself the best fielder in Milwaukee, even the announcers called him cocky. I kind of feel like he’s bringing it on himself with those sorts of actions.

    It’s an odd situation for sure. I’ve never heard of anything like this making the news before.

    • The ball was the fans to keep, those are the rules, NFL is a different sport and different rules. The MLB player expected to get his ball back, why? It was his first one, because he wanted to give it to his mom? Please give me a break, the fan paid to see the game so why should he do the player any favors, he turned up to watch the game that’s the biggest thing any fan can do for the players. So many are jumping on the band wagon of ‘let’s bash this fan’, may be they all think this ML player will email them all and thank them personally, pathetic. If I had caught the ball it would have been my first catch at a game, and I would have given it to my Son. After all without the fans he would be standing in an empty stadium, hitting balls for no money while no one watches, or even cares.

    • Hey Stuart, thanks for the comment.

      Here is the point of the issue for me. A person can buy a Major League Baseball for $12.99 at the MLB website. Now, maybe this ball held some special meaning to the Youngster, but judging by his videos and blog entries, it didn’t. He had 48 other ones, from much better hitters, for heaven’s sake! Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, etc.

      Coghlan offered a signed bat and a picture. A personalized bat at mlb.com costs $64.99, presumably more with the signature and it possibly being game used. The photo would provide the tangible memory, if that’s what he was after.

      In addition, this guy asked for a Hanley Ramirez signed ball, which is going for $159.99 (including the current 20% discount) and tickets to a Marlins-Brewers game in Miami. The cheapest tickets at Land Shark Stadium are $9. I don’t think they’d give him the cheapest seats, but we’ll go with it.

      In essence, Coghlan offered $64.99+ for a $12.99 baseball that certainly means more to him than this guy in Milwaukee who couldn’t pronounce his name. He was countered with at least $242+ worth of stuff.

      I realize it’s a Major League Baseball player/team, but really, that’s not even a slightly reasonable trade.

  10. Yes I would agree with that (money and cost etc), but that would only be true if this guy wanted to sell the stuff on, maybe he would maybe he would not, I have seen his collection from photos, so I would say he would be keeping anything he gets and not selling it.

    Let’s say he was trying to get as much as possible and being greedy, greed is nothing to be proud of, however I often feel that many MLB Clubs (not all of them) are greedy when they expect fans to pay silly prices for everything, so if a fan does the same to a Club surely the Club have no grounds on which to complain as they do it to their fans all season long.

    Now there are TWO sides to this whole story, and it may look like I am taking the side of the fan, I am a fan myself so I can see where he is coming from, however BOTH parties acted wrong in different ways, but only one seems to be getting bashed, and THAT is what bugs me the most, GREEDY FAN POOR LITTLE YOUNG ROOKIE, give me a break, they were both as bad as each other on the day.

    This whole thing has left the Rookie with ‘a bad taste in his mouth’ but for the fan I fear it has done much more damage, and that’s sad, like I said before where would MLB players be without the fans.

    Stuart Jon

  11. […] Biggest Jackass Ever Posted on June 14, 2009 by classic17 Here at WaB we like to call out jackasses.  Even if there isn’t much of a reason.  Either way, this guy trumps all of those […]

  12. […] there we made our way into the stadium and who is the first person to run into me?  This guy.  No joke.  I only knew who he was because of his awesome t-shirt.  Living up to his cool guy […]

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