Up for Grabs

Rated NR 2005

Michael Wranovics' well-meant documentary about the absurd legal battle over the ownership of the baseball Barry Bonds hit for his season-record 73rd home run, back in 2001, is instantly overshadowed by subsequent events: the steroids scandal, the allegations of Bonds' mistress, the possibility that his career may be over at age 40. Bad luck for the filmmaker, and for us. Still, as another expose of stubbornness, petty opportunism, and greed, there's some residual value in the story of two unappealing characters, Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi, who fought for almost two years over Bonds' No. 73. In the end, it sold at auction for "only" $450,000 and might not bring that much now: Given Bonds' linkage to the steroids scandal, the buyer might now feel obligated to get out his felt tip and mark the thing with a big, fat, black asterisk.

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