Aug 24, 2012; Aspen, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants former player Barry Bonds in attendance during stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge from Aspen to Beaver Creek. Mandatory Credit: Ford McClave-USA TODAY Sports

Friday Flicks: Up For Grabs


The offseason can be tough on baseball fans. Why not get your baseball fix through the Silver Screen? All offseason long, check out “Friday Flicks” at lunchtime for a baseball movie review. Want to suggest a movie for review? Comment below with the title.

Last week, we visited that field in the middle of Iowa. This week’s film is a documentary full of intrigue, greed and controversy, a film with much more depth than meets the eye.

Up for Grabs chronicles Barry Bonds‘ record-setting home run ball, #73 from 2001. As much as Bonds figured into this year’s “tainted” Hall of Fame ballot, he figures into this story as not much more than a bystander. The stars are Alex Popov and Patrick Hayashi, both claimants to the record setting home run ball.

Initially, a video that existed because of luck more than anything, was the center of the controversy. First glance indicates that Popov had the ball. When Hayashi shows it to the camera, it seems clear that he swiped it in the melee that followed the hit. However, once lawyers get involved and the public weighs in on the debate, the truth becomes less clear-cut. Tension remains until the movie ends, even past the moment when the judge makes his ruling on the situation. There’s no spoiler alert here, however; I wouldn’t tell you the answer for the world.

Is it a hit? I give it a triple. Maybe not an average triple, but more like a Ben Revere triple, legging out what would have been a double to anyone else. I think it overachieved a little, just because the story is so unbelievable. The creators of the documentary, and many of those who lived the story, drew out the suspense as long as possible. Whether you love baseball history or like to study human nature, you’ll find this movie worthwhile to view.

Come back next week for a nostalgic cartoon that depicted a famous baseball poem.

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