MILWAUKEE -- Question to Chris Coghlan? What was harder, hitting your first home run or retrieving the ball?
Answer: "Getting the ball back, for sure."
Coghlan connected on his first major league home run on Wednesday at Miller Park. But trying to convince the fan who caught the ball to give it up proved a more difficult task.
In return for the ball, said Marlins bullpen coach Steve Foster, who was the lead negotiator,"he wanted everything. He wanted bats and all kinds of stuff."
Foster said he offered a couple of baseballs in a 2-for-1 swap, but the man refused, saying he also wanted a bat autographed by Hanley Ramirez.
"I told him no," Foster said.
The negotiations continued after the game, when the man was brought onto the field and waited for Coghlan outside the Marlins dugout. Coghlan was astonished by the man's demands.
Coghlan said the man demanded an autographed baseball by Coghlan, a personalized Coghlan bat, an autographed Ramirez bat and -- to top it all off -- tickets to the Yankees/Marlins series in South Florida in June. He also wanted his photograph taken with Coghlan, whose name the man mispronounced even though he pretended to be a fan by wearing a Marlins cap.
Coghlan said he finally managed to drive down the asking price to the photo, an autographed ball and one of his signed bats. But when Coghlan handed over the goods, "he wouldn't give me the ball."
Coghlan resorted to begging.
"I told him, 'It's my first one. I would really appreciate it,'" Coghlan said. "He didn't make it easy, that's for sure."
The man finally coughed up the memento, but Coghlan was left with a sour taste from the experience.
"If he had been more respectful about it, I would have given him anything he wanted," Coghlan said. .